Cycling money

I WAS appalled to read the news that the 'cash strapped' Richmondshire District Council have now voted a total donation of £300,000 to organisers of next year’s Tour de Yorkshire cycle race (D&S Times, June 18) without any positive expectation of financial return.

While some council members were opposed, I feel those in favour should be ashamed.

There are other more deserving local causes, infrastructure and services.

My local councillor is informed of my opinion.

Robert Senior, Scotton.

Silly title

REGARDING the request for funding for the so called Tour de Yorkshire (D&S Times, June 18).

I object to the title for this commercial event.

It should be the Tour OF Yorkshire not a silly Frenchified title.

Tim Place, Aldbrough St. John.


THE Lib-Dems, for whom I vote, are proud that they have secured the future of Richmond swimming pool with council investment of £1.4m.

A complete waste of money.

Mother nature provided the River Swale with loads of swimming pools.

Dennis Birdsall taught me to swim there, and I in my turn, taught a couple of younger kids to swim there. We learned to love and respect the river.

A swimming pool can’t do that, and the river is free of charge.

Dave Hodgson, Richmond.

Junction safety

ACCORDING to the D&S Times people are calling for speed limits on the A167 at Oak Tree Hill following two fatal accidents in the area within ten days “Safety plea after crashes near ‘danger’ junction” (D&S Times, June 25).

I would like to call for no change to the speed limit as it is totally unnecessary.

One of the accidents was due to a medical incident which could have happened anywhere. As far as I recall there have been no fatalities in this vicinity for many years. Personally I have completed over 6,000 return journeys without either an accident or a near miss. Of course where there are bends and junctions drivers need to take more care.

However if they are unable to take the necessary care on wide well marked roads such as this they should not be driving in the first place.

Are we to return to the days of someone with a red flag walking in front of vehicles?

I would like to send my sympathies to the friends and relatives of the deceased.

C W Johnson, East Cowton.

EU citizens

ON June 30, thousands of EU citizens may very well have become illegal aliens.

Until January 1, 2020 anyone from the EU had a legal right to live and work here. Under the "grandfather principle", the UK Government should have ensured that the need to apply for settled status should only apply to those arriving in the UK after January 1, 2020.

An example of what should have happened is seat belts. When the installation of seat belts became law in 1965 cars built before that date did not need to install them. When the wearing of front seat belts became law (1983 for front and 1991 for rear) their use was not made compulsory in cars without them.

Why then did this Government take the vindictive move of forcing people with a legal right to be here (who, also, did not have a vote in the 2016 Referendum) to apply for settled status? Especially when, during the referendum campaign, Boris Johnson even signed a public pledge that "EU citizens will be automatically granted indefinite leave to remain"?

How many more broken promises must there be before the people in this country will wake up to what is going on?

Philip Knowles, Eppleby.

More scrutiny

I HAVE watched the “indiscretion” of Matt Hancock on Facebook and listened to all the comments by our politicians of all political persuasions who are outraged about the failure of the security, they want to know how did the newspapers get hold of this?

MPs are outraged that the public have seen how our politicians behave when they think they are in private.

I would like to see more of this, I grant you that the pictures need to be reviewed to ensure that state secrets are redacted, but to see a senior government minister having a snog with his aide is in the public interest.

Other ministers and MPs have been accused of improper behaviour including bullying and they reply “I did nothing wrong” so nothing gets done. So let’s have more cameras throughout Westminster.

Brian Tyldesley, Middleham.

Hancock affair

PERSONALLY, I can’t say I got too annoyed by 1. Matt Hancock’s breach of social distancing with Gina Coladangelo and 2. Dominic Cummings visit to Barnard Castle.

It appears to me that Gina was already, unofficially in his social bubble so whatever harm might have arisen from it would already have happened.

Apart from the fact I think that Mr Hancock was a poor Health Secretary, it again shows weak leadership from Boris Johnson who should have sacked them both, because they ignored a breach of the rules of social distancing – especially from Mr Hancock who made the rules in the first place.

What has not been mentioned are that both Mr Hancock and Ms Coladangelo are married and having an affair – the modern term for adultery, which tends to be acceptable terminology for their behaviour.

Of course Mr Johnson can't be critical of this part of their behaviour as he has been guilty of it himself and would be accused of being out of touch with modern life as moral behaviour is now out of fashion.

Finally if the business people of Barnard Castle really want to rubber stamp Barnard Castle being on the map, they should invite the couple to a freebie weekend – separate rooms of course.

Thomas Ball, Barnard Castle.

Rail consultations

LNER, TransPennineExpress and Cross-Country are separately consulting on major changes to services and you have to respond to each. Nowhere can you see the whole picture. Why is it not a single consultation?

It is argued that there is not capacity between Northallerton and Newcastle yet Network Rail have given five train paths to a new London-Edinburgh operator.

The current LNER service serving Northallerton will still stop but all trains will terminate at Newcastle.

The TransPennineExpress Newcastle-Liverpool service continues but not stopping at Northallerton. A new Middlesbrough-London Azuma service will use the low level line over the level crossings and not stop at Northallerton.

What Northallerton is being offered is Cross-Country hourly north to Scotland and south to SW England using four to five-coach 20 year old trains. Coming from Bristol/Plymouth or Aberdeen/Glasgow, what will be the time keeping – and the toilets often run empty at present.

Rishi Sunak needs to fight for us as Ben Houchen is doing for Teesside.

John D Rennilson, Northallerton.

Garden competition

I AM a little puzzled by a point made in the Richmond Town Council Garden Competition piece (D&S Times, June 18). It states that "the design should be safely seen from the public highway for judging purposes". Surely it should say that the garden can be safely accessed from the highway, otherwise, people on say, Frenchgate cannot enter as all their gardens are at the back.

When I, living in Frenchgate, a few years ago, won the cup for Best Garden in Show, judges and subsequent visitors had to come through the house and down a flight of stairs to reach the garden: no-one seemed to be troubled by that.

My current garden cannot be seen from the public highway – does that mean that I am not allowed to enter?

Daphne Clarke, Richmond.


FOR Frank Broughton to quote the 1546 proverb "There are none so blind etc" by John Hoywood, pretty much says it all “Lines of sight” (D&S Times letters, June 18). Take a moment in front of a mirror Mr Broughton and reflect.

You really should read "Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom", by the co-founder of Greenpeace Patrick Moore.

There is a quote from his book by Mike Huckabee, this is a must read for those who are willing to wake up to an ideological agenda that has more to do with Leftist politics than real science, it may even help you to relax Frank.

Trevor Mason, Swainby.

White elephants

AT the height of the pandemic with our hospitals stretched to almost breaking point, the Government produced a much heralded solution to stem the tide.

They erected ten emergency buildings, costing billions, complete with medical facilities to cope with the expected overflow of patients.

In the event only one was put into partial use whilst the remainder stay empty to this day.

Meanwhile patients with other medical conditions were put on ever increasing waiting lists which have now reached astronomic proportions.

While some have not lived long enough to receive treatment, others have waited many months stretching to a year and beyond.

On the face of it, there seemed to be a simple answer to alleviate those waiting times – use the new buildings.

Why did it not happen? The simple answer – staff shortage.

Therefore it can be assumed that if the overflow of virus cases had materialised those same buildings would have remained empty. Government policy appears to be “cart before the horse”.

I now pose the question, why was there such a staff deficit? A major contributing factor is another elephant in the room – Brexit.

There has been a mass exodus of foreign workers since it was implemented, none more so than from within the NHS where they help to form the very backbone of its operation.

This situation is also reflected in other key areas of our economy and I cite farming, haulage, hotels and restaurants as prime examples.

Bankruptcies are now occurring in these important sectors and are forecast in the immediate future.

However, David Attenborough will be pleased to know that by creating ten white elephants our Government has played its part in preserving an endangered species.

Maurice Baker, Spennymoor.

No punishment

I HAVE noticed while watching the Euro football tournament that a few of the players do not sing their national anthem. They will have their reasons or maybe they do not feel they have a good singing voice, so keep quiet.

It takes me back to my schooldays in the 1950s when our teacher wheedled the piano from the hall to the classroom for our singing lessons.

His first words were “Rusby out” and three other names I will not mention and we were made to stand in the hall for the full lesson as punishment for being tone deaf and lousy singers.

What he did not realise that the girls were in the hall having PE at the same time. What a punishment to give to 15-year-old boys – better than the cane any day

John Rushby, Bishop Auckland.

Rodent control

INCREASING rat problems raise a few questions.

I was told by council employees, some years ago, that the sewer system was flushed with poison gas twice a year to exterminate rat numbers. That policy had stopped, for “bean counter” reasons.

Would local council folks care to confirm the above?

If correct then it is unacceptable to blame local householders for careless hygiene habits. This is simply passing the buck, rapidly becoming the norm response from many organisations.

G B Butler, Stockton-on-Tees.

Bird watching

AT this time of the year it’s nice to sit in the garden not just to look at the flowers, but watch the birds coming for a drink or bath, not always is the weather good so I sit in the summer house at any time of the day.

The birds just keep coming and sometimes butterflies or ladybirds as well, we have a peahen that wanders about the village sometimes calls in to see me. Nature’s great.

GO Wright, Sadberge.