Mart move

IN reply to DA Bradley's letter (D&S Times letters, Sept 11), the suggestion to move Leyburn's livestock auction mart from its town site is somewhat flippant. Such moves have been made by other livestock marts around the country and not all have been a success.

Some, for instance, have struggled financially as costs to build and run a new mart have escalated, like many major construction undertakings, and livestock numbers have decreased.

With other housing developments already planned in and around Leyburn why does Mr Bradley and his "prominent Leyburn business man" feel the need for further houses?

Leyburn Mart sits comfortably on its own five-acre site and causes no obvious or major problems to the town residents or businesses, in fact, many would argue it enhances this traditional market town's character, brings customers to shops and other retailers, restaurants, public houses and tradesmen.

All these businesses complement each other to make Leyburn what it is, a good, honest "working town", the envy of many others. Remembering the 2008 recession, Leyburn suffered, but not to the extent that other towns and cities did. Yes, a few shop premises were empty, but not in large numbers, and the recovery was quick.

Don't think that, as cosily as we sit within the town, the mart directors would not consider relocating. However, to find a suitable site would not be an easy task, paying for this site once found would be another and then funding the new build, perhaps to the tune of six to eight million pounds would be quite an undertaking, even with the sale value of the existing premises.

So, Mr Bradley, for the time being we will sit tight and continue to be a cog in the wheel of this wonderful town we are fortunate to live and work in.

Stephen Walker, Leyburn Livestock Auction Mart manager.

Make a change

RECENTLY there was another attack on the BBC in a reader’s letter and on the same page Spectator made the provocative claim that Extinction Rebellion’s one day protest against the billionaire press was an attack on the freedom of the press (D&S Times, Sept 4).

On the contrary, it is these media organisations that are the threat. To pretend that the content of the Sun, the Daily Mail or the Express, let alone Fox News, fulfils the same standards of decency, public service and rational debate as the BBC – and surely the DST itself – is simply laughable.

A relevant example of the BBC’s public service was David Attenborough’s Extinction: The Facts programme on Sunday that many readers will have watched. Everyone (except those billionaire media owners?) is increasingly aware that climate change and natural extinction are almost certainly the greatest threat the human species has ever faced.

To ignore it is indeed criminally irresponsible. And to challenge what Spectator says, the crisis will not be solved by individuals litter-picking or changing your brand of washing up liquid (worthy as those actions may be). Governments must and can act. The knowledge and affordable technology now exists that could make a massive difference to the survival of our children and grandchildren and of the natural world – if governments and politicians act.

As the pandemic, which is itself another symptom of the extinction crisis, has shown, when the need arises money can be found, all our habits can change and collective action can be taken on a global scale. What we need to face this even greater challenge is the science-based policy, large-scale government-directed action and social solidarity right across Planet Earth that have been features of the last six months.

As David Attenborough demonstrated, the climate/extinction crisis is a far greater and more serious danger than Covid-19. If we want a decent future for humanity and for the other species with whom we share the living world, it is up to us to make it loud and clear to MPs and government, that now is the time to make a change. Let us start with Rishi Sunak – email him ‘Now is the Time to Make a Change’ – and keep doing so.

R.D.Hildyard, Colburn.

Blast furnace

WITH reference to your leading article "Furnace loss would rip the heart out of Teesside" (D&S Times Cleveland edition, Sept 11).

Surely the prominent figures of the arts community are a little late with this headline.

Wasn’t the heart ripped out of Teesside when, for whatever reason, the blast furnace closed and the workforce thrown out of work?

Those employees turned up for work in order to provide for their families and no amount of sentimental posturing will secure a better future for them and their children.

Better to seize he moment, look forward and work to restore prosperity to Teesside.

Timothy Wood, Guisborough.

Ugly carbuncle

TWO well-known gentlemen in the art world want to reprieve Redcar blast furnace from demolition (D&S Times Cleveland edition, Sept 11).

Former Arts Council chief, Peter Hewitt, says it’s “an iconic structure which is representative of the very soul of Teesside.” I say it’s an ugly carbuncle, spoiling the view along Redcar beach and holding back our main town as we endeavour to drag it into the 21st Century.

Photographer Ian Macdonald incredibly claims it’s “a piece of public art” outranking “any other piece of public sculpture anywhere.” No, the blast furnace is not art, but a heap of ugly, rusting, industrial junk, which would blight our new Teesworks site and cost the earth to restore and maintain.

The stupendous Dorman Long Tower, built in the 1950s, intentionally or accidentally in the concrete brutalist style, should be the only redundant structure necessary to remind us of our steel-making glory days. Not only that, but it has the potential to be used for sporting and artistic purposes, the latter of which should bring a modicum of happiness to artistic champions like Peter and Ian.

Steve Kay, Redcar & Cleveland councillor.

Green revolution

ONE of the loveliest details of our roads and townscapes in Redcar and Cleveland, is the way industrial heritage has been woven back into the landscape.

Roundabouts have been enhanced by vintage artefacts from our industrial past and, surrounded by the recent wild flower initiatives, they have become art works in their own right.

I wonder how many readers saw the 2019 Gardeners' World episode when the garden designer Arit Anderson visited the Landschaftspark garden in Germany. It was superb and a revelation.

The most interesting aspect of the garden is its respect for the memories of the former coal and steel workers of the community. Another important feature is that the designers worked with the polluted materials and did not remove them from the site. The trees and plants have reclaimed the ground.

The German garden has walkways, a canal, hanging gardens, open piazzas, water and playparks, plus intimate, quiet gardens. It is hugely popular with the local community and a massive tourist attraction.

Such a garden would be a tremendous boost to the town of Redcar and the surrounding area. It could become, like the Landschaftspark, an international tourist attraction. The site could also include the views of the Tees and the North Sea – an added advantage over the German garden.

There is nothing like this in the North-East or anywhere in the country. Beamish is a success, but it is more of a working museum. As a garden, this site could be as popular as the Eden Project and as important ecologically.

The Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord website is fascinating and well worth a look. Maybe, our MPs, mayor and council representatives should explore the park for themselves on a fact-finding visit.

It would be a crime to erase this site from memory. However, it could become part of the Green revolution; preserving the past for our future.

Terence Fleming, Guisborough.

Food and farming

MOST consumers and UK farmers wish food production and import standards to be maintained. They do not wish for UK farmers to be undercut with unfair competition. Despite this our MP, Rishi Sunak, voted during the amendment stage of the Agricultural Bill, to allow the import of foods which do not meet UK standards, presumably to enable trade talks with the USA to progress.

The ex-chief economist of the NFU, Dr Séan Rickard stated in the Farmers’ Weekly on September 4: “No Deal: The door to the decimation of UK farming.” This decimation, to jobs, communities, the environment, food standards and availability of locally produced food appears to be a price which Mr Sunak believes the rest of society should pay.

Like many constituents, I have received no reply from Mr Sunak to several emails and letters. Why, during the indicative votes of Theresa May’s premiership, did he vote for no-deal Brexit? He appears to want no-deal with the EU regardless of the consequences.

Bloomberg’s analysis shows that Brexit will cost over £200bn by the end of 2020, close to the total contributions of £213bn made by the UK 1973-2020.

The London School of Economics analysis of Bank of England data shows that the impact on the economy of no-deal Brexit is likely to be two to three times worse that of Covid-19.

Mr Sunak’s actions appear to benefit some in his former hedge fund industry. Nolan’s 7 Principles of Public life specify the standards of behaviour required from all in Government; pursuing or permitting no-deal Brexit would be in breach of these.

Mr Sunak should do all in his power to ensure that a deal with the EU is reached and that Brexit delivers all the benefits in full which he and his party promised.

Mark Harrison, Swainby.

Mind the gap

YOUR pages seem to be full of comment about the local government re-organisation, which has the whiff, in the present circumstances of a sentence that includes the words "deckchairs" and "Titanic".

Nonetheless, I beg to introduce another topic.

The government is full of enthusiasm for "levelling up" and "the green agenda". In the context of this, the gaps in the electric wires above our railway tracks make no sense. Despite the fact that rail travel is the safest way of getting from A to B, the lack of electrification means that diesel rolling stock is still needed on some routes. Most notably, in this region, between Northallerton, Middlesbrough and up to Sunderland.

Diesels are dirty, noisy and polluting, and two recent accidents, near Aberdeen (where a derailed HST train caught fire, with loss of life) and in Wales, where no deaths occurred, at least not human ones, but diesel fuel spilt out polluting a river estuary.

Is it a coincidence that the overhead electric cables run out when the "main line" is left, and the "red wall" – now possibly "blue" areas – Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Sunderland – have to put up with dirty diesels?

Surely the left behind areas deserve the best communications they can get?

Chris Purser, Sowerby, Thirsk.

Repair Shop

I REALLY feel I need to draw someone’s attention to what I feel is a health issue with regard to the BBC TV programme The Repair Shop, of which I am an avid viewer.

It makes my hair stand on end when I see them blow the dust from anything they have been sanding down.

That is not only going into the air, but also into the lungs of other workers around – you can see the dust in the air after they have blown it away.

I do not want to stop this very needed programme, they are a wonderful team, but it goes through me when I see it many times in an episode. Have they no sense?

Please someone knock some sense into those people.

Christine Thompson, Romanby.


I AM deeply concerned about the government’s plan to break promises made in the Withdrawal Agreement, an international treaty signed less than a year ago. Minister Robert Buckland admitted this would break international law. The Internal Markets Bill would renege on commitments to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. This Bill has already passed its second reading.

The Conservatives once promoted themselves as the party of law and order and economic stability. Now the government is openly breaking international law and paving the way to a no-deal economic disaster. How can the Conservative party jeopardise the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland?

The PM does not speak for ordinary Conservatives or indeed for law abiding citizens on either side of the political spectrum. His actions threaten the reputation of the Conservative party and the global reputation of the UK as a trustworthy nation.

Jane Foster, Leyburn.