THERE is only one word which one can use to describe traffic “management” around Northallerton: Intolerable.

There has to be something seriously wrong when huge articulated vehicles are encountered in small villages and single lane roads. Yes, I’m talking about flooding.

On September 8, 2019 I submitted comments regarding Hambleton Local Plan: Infrastructure. I quote verbatim.

1.Under 5.15 section of the local plan there seems to be no mention of the problems with the bridge connexion to Morton-on-Swale on the A684. To my knowledge this has been damaged on three occasions; leading to disruption of traffic and considerable expense beyond normal maintenance expenses.

2.In addition 5.3 (4) mentions environmental impact. This must affect the growing population of Morton-on-Swale and Ainderby Steeple in terms of traffic pollution and specifically particulates from the increasing volume of slow moving traffic.

3.Additionally, there is the question of the increased likelihood of flooding becoming more regular. Recent floods have disrupted traffic between the junction of A684 and Scruton turning and the above mentioned bridge threshold. Thus, at the very least, this section of road needs to be raised by at least one metre.

It seems that (1) the existing bridge is not adequate for the amount of current traffic and is statistically likely to be frequently damaged. One proposal to solve both points 1. and 2. will be to provide a new bridge for the A684 directly across the Swale from the threshold of the existing bridge, possibly meeting the present A684 on the East side of Ainderby or joining the road from the A684 to Yafforth village. It should be borne in mind that there are no reasonable alternatives to Morton bridge within ten miles on either side.

The above was written over a year ago. On November 12 all the comments and proposals on Hambleton Local Plan: Infrastructure will be examined by a government-appointed officer. Owing to the present lockdown it is to be conducted electronically.

Had it been live I am sure that many residents of Northallerton and surrounding villages would have forcefully supported my suggestions.

After all; Northallerton is the County Town of North Yorkshire and should not be treated as an overgrown village somewhere in the sticks.

Alan Harpley. Scruton.

Lessons of history

UNDER the headline “Time’s up” (D&S Times letters, Nov 6) Timothy Wood of Guisborough wishes to do away with Guy Fawkes Night. An important date in English history.

I don’t know what sort of world he wants to live in when he thinks that Guy Fawkes festivities are a, “celebration of the suppression of the rights of the individual to challenge the status quo”. If he wants people to go around blowing up anything they disagree with he might find himself very lonely. What Guy Fawkes, a Yorkshireman, did is history and sensible people learn from history.

Rodney Wildsmith, Great Ayton.

Under threat

THE powerful media coverage of Remembrance Day and the Democrats victory in the American elections prompts the following, heartfelt reflections which I imagine will reverberate with many local citizens.

We all owe a great deal to the great institutions that engender pride in our states and societies.

Often, it is only when they are threatened that we fully appreciate their importance.

This week we in Britain have remembered the sacrifices made to protect the institutions that make us: family, community, civility, values, principles, law, and the several elements of our government.

That they are threatened now may only be understood in the mirror that is the USA.

Few Britons have enjoyed the spectacle of a once great nation, adulterated by the antics of a man without limits, a populist authoritarian who respects none of the institutions that are foundational to the American Constitution.

Using the rhetoric of “them and us” divisions, wrapped in the flag, the President has undermined the Union, disunited its people, questioned its judges, civil servants, the armed services, the free press, religious minorities and many other legitimate members of the state. We see this and acknowledge it.

But we are asleep to the effects of the same forces in our own county.

Boris Johnson uses, the same populist authoritarian rhetoric, to justify the undermining of our foundational institutions starting with Parliament, then the Judiciary, the Rule of Law, the Separation of Powers, the Civil Service, most of local government and the professions.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

It is now commonplace to label judges traitors and saboteurs, lawyers who defend our rights as “lefty lawyers”. President Elect Joe Biden stated in 2019, that Boris Johnson is, “a physical and emotional clone” of Donald Trump.

Far from taking back control as a country we are losing it, and everywhere. The Kingdoms of Britain are in the process of breaking away.

Parliament, which is constitutionally Sovereign, is daily circumvented and flouted. Trusted civil servants are briefed against and forced to resign.

Lawyers and MPs are having to protect their offices from radicalised far right thugs, one of whom has already killed an MP.

Local authorities are denied the information, power and money to protect their local residents. Cherished public bodies are being sold off in front of us.

It’s time to follow America’s example and call a halt to this process. Good people should speak out, organise and vote in defence of the institutions that made us and make us great.

We must not be remembered as bystanders to the break up and break down of Britain.

Dr John R Gibbins, Sowerby, Thirsk.

Food poverty

MR NICHOLSON’S letter (D&S Times letters, Nov 6) about child hunger is logically flawed. He argues from the particular to the general about his experience of seeing supermarket family food purchases, like saying “I’ve seen three Scots driving Volvos, so all Scottish people own Volvos”. The biggest hole in that argument is however that the people who have little or no money will not be in the supermarket queues.

Mr Nicholson refers to obesity. That is a significant issue, caused by eating cheap foods, with a high carbohydrate and fat content, initially satisfying for a hungry child but over weeks and months a reliance on that leads to malnutrition.

If Mr Nicholson does not think that’s a problem maybe he might be convinced by an analysis in the Lancet [medical journal], relating to the average height of boys, which is regarded as being a cumulative indicator of childhood nutrition.

The UK’s position in the international league table of average boys’ height has fallen from 28th in 1985 to 39th in 2019 [BBC Red Button news].

Less healthy adults in the future will result in less ability to compete in the market for international trade and a poorer nation as a result; educating children about nutrition and feeding them properly is an investment in all our futures. I’m pleased to note the Government has at last recognised the current problem, highlighted by Marcus Rashford, and will grant money to councils to be given out to poor families over the Christmas holiday.

I hope that will be an automatic process based on the free school meals data and not one with a bureaucratic and inhibiting application process.

John Harris, Richmond.

Helping out

TREVOR NICHOLSON’S remarks (D&S Times letters, Nov 6) on child poverty in our country are both self-defeating and wildly wide of the mark.

Downplaying the issue or blaming the victims might provide a convenient excuse to turn a blind eye but it won’t make the problem go away.

The real facts are that more than four million children live in poverty in the UK, that’s the equivalent of nine children in every class of 30 and this year alone there has been a 107 per cent increase in children receiving emergency food [Figures from the Children’s Society].

Thankfully, Mr Nicholson is in the minority. As the many acts of kindness and courage we have witnessed during the health crisis shows, most people want to help out where they can. One such way might be to contribute to the Fair Share & Trussell Trust Food Collection at your local Tesco store between November 19 and 21. Due to lockdown II, volunteers will not be available to point out the shopping lists and collection points this year but both will still be there and everything donated will make someone’s life just a little better.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Donations at a foodbank

Helping out in small ways like this not only assists people through tough times, but it’s also a good antidote to the kind of negativity occasionally displayed. More details of the food collections can be found at

David Goff, Carlton in Coverdale, Leyburn.

Armistice Day

AT 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, exactly 100 years after the burial of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, we stood in silence outside our homes, as widely encouraged. Unable to commemorate in the usual way at the war memorial, it was our way of paying tribute to the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of men and women to whom we owe our freedom and the right to choose our way of life. There were four of us to be seen. In years gone by, cars would have pulled over for those two minutes, which would have been well marked on car radios. Sadly, not this year. People in cars flashed by, free to go about their so urgent business only thanks to the sacrifice of those whom we commemorate at this time.

Whose business is so urgent or so essential that they cannot spare two minutes of gratitude out of 365 days? It takes and costs nothing, but speaks volumes.

Pauline Westgarth-Taylor, Stokesley.

Trump’s defeat

I DON’T think there’s any chance Donald Trump will ever accept defeat gracefully because he wants to sow a seed of doubt in Americans’ minds about the veracity of the election result. Then, in four years’ time, with the pandemic forgotten and the economy plateauing, he, or one of his family, can have another tilt at the presidency.

Even if Trump cannot prove widespread electoral fraud, Biden’s reliance on a massive postal vote can always be called into question because with postal ballots there’s always the suspicion that someone other than the real elector has actually voted.

Having obtained more votes than any previous candidate, Trump can also question how Biden could possibly “trump” him, without something being badly wrong.

Whatever the courts decide, millions of Americans will continue to believe that Trump was removed from the presidency by the machinations of the liberal establishment. And, on the back of that sentiment, there’s still the possibility that Donald Trump will make an early return to the White House in one guise or another.

Steve Kay, Redcar & Cleveland Councillor.

Lockdown rules

LAST Saturday I visited Northallerton market as usual, not expecting there to be a market at all. However, the usual stalls selling food etc were all there as usual which was great, but the other stalls which sell clothing and other so called non-essential goods were, of course, missing.

Speaking to a regular stallholder the previous Wednesday who sells clothing, a very nice young man, who is trying to make an honest living, he told me: “We have cancelled Christmas this year as we can’t afford it.”

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Northallerton Market

Can anyone tell me what is the difference selling food or clothing on an open market which is well spaced out owing to the sensible idea of closing the high street to traffic on market days? There are several regular stall holders who support Northallerton market who sell good quality clothing and footwear who I have spoken to and all struggled during the last lockdown and are doing it again.

We know Covid is a dangerous disease, but shouldn’t common sense prevail on an open market?

One can get bugs buying apples just as easy as buying a jumper. We are all feeling the effects of this virus some way or another, but are the dictators who are making these archaic rules feeling it as much as the guy on the market trying to make a living?

David Simpson, Northallerton.