Parking solution

KEEP it simple and sensible. Permanent one hour free parking in Northallerton High Street is the answer.

It is inconceivable that any business would say they prefer customers to have half an hour's free parking instead of one hour.

Please don’t complicate things with having to download the AppyParking app to pay which would be a problem for many.

Just let good old-fashioned common sense prevail.

William J L Barker, Northallerton.

Reasons to be cheerful

HAVE you got snowdrops out in your garden? I have and lovely hellebores too. And, despite the snowy weather, there are some February Gold daffodils showing signs that they will be flowering soon.

The signs of spring cheer me up and this year more than ever – after the past year we have had. It was the same with the Christmas decorations. I have never put mine up in November before! However, they cheered me up. There are lots of lovely memories in family decorations.

I had my first dose of the vaccine last week and that has really cheered me up. The staff – from receptionist to the doctor – cheered me too. Their eyes twinkling and their voices friendly; I knew they were smiling behind their masks.

The shop assistants where I live have huge reserves of cheerfulness. I have been very impressed by the safety measures in the shops I visit. I feel safe and I cannot understand why some people do not follow the rules.

Friends keeping in touch, chats on the phone, more Christmas cards than ever and some wonderful little videos have kept me smiling. On my birthday, some friends gave me a surprise afternoon tea hamper – a luxury treat on my own. So friends have cheered me up . . . and cake too!

In lockdown, I have rediscovered the radio. I have always loved music on the radio to keep me company, but I have discovered Radio 4 Extra and their classic serials. I have just finished listening to The Woman in White. It was superb and faithful to the book. As for the comedies, too many to mention, I have had a good chuckle at Round the Horne and The Goon Show. So, if the news depresses you, tune in to the radio.

My friend the D&S Times, has added extra gardening pages and brain teasers. The little poetry section was a lovely thoughtful touch – especially positioned alongside some of the grumpy letters – the poems cheered me up. Plus the range of beautiful photographs of our region showing us what is waiting when we can all get out and about once again

Another feature, each week in the D&S, has been the wealth of stories of kindness in the community. Those heroes who have been helping the poor, the lonely, the sick and the hungry. Such stories cheer me up, because they remind me of the goodness in society.

Life has been tough, but don't forget keep your eyes twinkling, smile behind your masks and remember keep positive.

Terence Fleming, Guisborough.

Bank exodus

IN answer to Jack Cooper’s letter "Futile comments" (D&S Times letters, Feb 5), it appears he’s a supporter of rampant capitalism, playing the “don’t you dare criticise the Government in a crisis” card, when the pandemic has been going on for nearly a year.

It’s the job of the Government to provide the right conditions for all of our citizens to prosper. However we now have a Conservative government obsessed by two mantras, the "small state" and "private enterprise and outsourcing will solve every problem".

That led to a failure to plan for a pandemic, to lockdown early enough and chaotic attempts to provide protective clothing; at the start of the pandemic care homes seem to have been ignored as businesses that should take care of themselves.

Judging by the number of senior Civil Service heads that have resigned under the Johnson administration, the Civil Service has been seriously undermined.

The loss of banks in a town makes the running of shops, for example the paying in of takings and collecting coins for change, that much harder and the disappearance of cash machines disadvantages poorer and older people. The Government could change corporation tax and business rate rules to encourage banks to retain branches in small towns. Continued centralisation diminishes local economies and takes away jobs, it is time Rishi Sunak stood up for the local communities he was elected to represent.

John Harris, Richmond.

Testing take up

THIS is more of a query than a moan or groan, but I do find it concerning.

I’m referring to the Thirsk weekly drive-through Covid testing each Sunday in Marage car park and the more permanent walk in site on the Forum car park in Northallerton (I presently don’t travel any farther afield to know of others or make comments).

The Thirsk site rarely has any takers at all, perhaps five cars a day. There’s between six and ten staff.

The Northallerton walk in site has about ten staff but again very little take up of people being tested. My worries are two fold:

a) How effective can the testing be with low take up?

b) How much are these centres costing now the running of them has changed from armed forces to private companies?

Simon Martin, Northallerton.

Covid-19 test centre (PA)

Covid-19 test centre (PA)

5G support

THE unanimous decision by the Yorkshire Dales Planning Authority is a welcome nugget of common sense among the growing emotional fervent opposition to 5G.

Increasingly improbable claims have been made such as that 5G causes flocks of birds to fall from the sky – a natural phenomenon as old as history, much like whale groundings. Every recent such incident that blamed 5G has been independently proven to have no connection with 5G signals or masts.

Then we have every illness known to man being ascribed to mobile phone masts in general and 5G in particular, from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s and almost every cancer. This would be almost amusing were it not for the effect these allegations have had on people here, especially those at risk of or suffering from serious illness.

Having had cancer myself, I find the spreading of these unevidenced claims to be frankly disgraceful manipulation of people at a vulnerable time in their lives. It reminds me of the claims that MMR vaccine caused autism which were eventually proven to be entirely false but by then had caused great harm to many children who caught measles, mumps, or rubella.

Then we have quotes from scientific papers – very selectively lifted from reports which also drew conclusions that 5G is significantly less harmful to human bodies than 2G and 3G, themselves a low risk. The unhelpful truths were simply ignored to skew the picture to the campaigners chosen narrative.

Those of us living in the Dales are at greater risk from the radon gas emitting from the ground beneath our feet 24/7 than from anything 2, 3 4 or 5G can emit.

The Dales are indeed a special place to live. They are not a frozen picture postcard for the delight of the few – they have evolved through the activities of people and they need people to live and work here to maintain this special landscape and thriving communities.

Nowadays, to keep businesses working and young people and families able to learn, live and work here, modern communications are essential through reliable fast broadband and effective mobile networks.

The MANY project offers us that infrastructure now and we want it here.

Honor Byford, Middleham.

Moving on

MY letter a fortnight ago “Poor deal” (D&S Times letters, Feb 5) was concerned with some of the specific consequences of the post-Brexit deal.

Mr Nicholson's response a week later “EU obstacles” (D&S Times letters, Feb 12) concentrated on his generalised, confusing list that he referred to as Remainer complaints. It hardly related to my letter. He seemed more concerned to denigrate those with views that are different to his.

He must surely realise that there are no longer Leavers and Remainers in the pre-January 1, 2021 sense of those Brexit words. He must move on. Brexit is done – well not quite yet as Michael Gove wants to delay things for another two years.

My letter was about what is happening now. It wasn't about not realising as a “Remainer” that I had lost! It wasn't about playing a game. If what we are ending up with now, after four and half years of negotiations, is supposed to be success then I believe I have the right to comment on the resulting consequences of the agreement. If he himself is happy now with the emerging debilitating economic consequences of the deal we were promised then it is he who has become the “Remainer”, remaining in splendid isolation, free and poorer. He will have won.

How unedifying it is when he talks of the corrupt EU (who specifically?) being childish, spitting out dummies and putting petty obstacles in the way of Britain. I wrote in my letter of what is happening now yet he writes so vaguely of Britain going “…..from strength to strength while the EU will gradually crumble". Good grief.

Mr Nicholson dismisses the fact that our closest and main trading partner is and will be the EU. He dismisses Northern Ireland knowing that the people there, like the Scottish people, did not want to leave the EU and assumes they are happy with the border in the Irish Sea.

Confused by his list of the old Remainer complaints, I read on hoping to hear from him of all the wonderful benefits that leaving the EU has brought us so far. He forgot to tell us. How good it is for the deal to have created so many obstacles.

John Hopkins, Crakehall.

Railway work

NEWTON-LE-WILLOWS Climate Change Group and a number of residents were extremely disappointed last week to see that contractors acting for the Wensleydale Railway were clearing vegetation along the track in a manner which disregarded the effects on wildlife and the natural environment.

Whilst we appreciate the need to maintain a safe working corridor, trees and shrubs have been hacked down up to seven metres from the track. Some have been butchered with limbs left hanging. As we approach the nesting season it is clear that this will have a detrimental effect on our bird life. Tree sparrows, which are a Red-listed species ie of the highest UK conservation priority and needing urgent action, are known to inhabit some of the trees and scrub along the railway. The value of the line as an important wildlife corridor has also been significantly reduced.

To aggravate matters further the contractors set fire to the debris enveloping the village in dense smoke.

As a group we have been promoting the planting of trees to help mitigate global warming and the action of the railway will frustrate this objective.

Network Rail, in response to criticism of its own trackside management, has developed a biodiversity action plan which appears to have been ignored in this case.

This should act as a warning to other communities further west up the line who may wish to be aware of what may happen in their area.

Bob Sampson on behalf of Newton-le-Willows Climate Change Group, Newton-le-Willows.

Killjoy coppers

"FIRST they came for the snowballers, then they came for the sledgers....."

Who will our killjoy coppers target next, the builders of snowmen, perhaps?

"C'mon guys, lighten up", after all, it will soon be spring, then summer, when (with any luck) you'll be able to harass groups of picnickers, riverside revellers and other lockdown miscreants, under the gaze of a cynical public.

Tony Robinson, Romanby, Northallerton.