HALF a century is a long time and it's always fascinating to see the changes a community can undergo even a historic spot such as Bedale, which prides itself on being a market town since 1251. Well Spectator can't go that far back but a devoted reader has sent in a gripping piece of the town's past. Even more so since major plans for the town's GP surgery were revealed. Glebe House is to undergo a £2.7m transformation into an integrated healthcare hub.

While this has to be good for the town, what gripped our reader was the cost and the comparison to the neighbouring site of Bedale Primary School, and a document in her possession marking the formal opening of the school on December 4, 1969.

Major General W E Clutterbuck was the dignitary performing the official ceremony and the explanatory pamphlet revealed the main contractors were Messrs Walter Thompson of Northallerton. The cost of this new educational establishment was £68,764 with furniture and equipment coming in at a further £5,410. This was for seven classrooms, a hall, staff rooms and a school meals kitchen.The bill we understand was picked up by the North Riding County Council Education Committee.

While it seems a drop in the ocean now we have to take into account what could be bought 51 years ago, major buildings were created for thousands of pounds rather than the dizzying millions and billions so often quoted now.

But then consider an average house price in the 1960's was around £2,500 now it's nearer £230,000 so as always we have to put it all into context, and hope the healthcare hub is as much at the heart of the Bedale community as the primary school remains today.