Road response

I WRITE in response to Councillor Stuart Parsons’ charges against me of using my position as a member of the House of Lords to encourage North Yorkshire County Council to repair the Darlington Road in Richmond – one of the major tourist routes into our town and the Dales – which I believe had serious structural defects (D&S Times, Aug 27).

I have reviewed all the emails I sent regarding my correspondence with the county council, which I am very happy to publish, so that Cllr Parsons can see for himself the ludicrous insinuations he makes to be utterly false.

He brings my husband into his personal attack on me as well, accusing him of not telling me about his reports every month to the Town Council about the issues on the Darlington Road.

Other councillors will attest that he does not mention the state of the road so often. It is interesting, therefore, to note that my first request (on July 22) to the county council to invite the leader to see for himself the state of the road resulted in an immediate filling in of the worst of the potholes and cracks. Something I – and other Richmond residents – would have expected our county councillor to have requested a long time ago.

Cllr Parsons requested the meeting be delayed until after a town council election was held and argued over a date. The meeting was held after that election. I know nothing of his accusation that the meeting with him was cancelled. It certainly was not by me. In fact I had been enthusiastic about his coming to meet officers – my emails will bear this out – as will the original invitation (not request) to come and see the state of the road.

This whole, ridiculous row has been blown out of all proportion and I am sorry that your readers have been subjected to a petty political tirade from someone of whom we should expect the highest standards of behaviour.

I assure Richmond citizens that I will always stand up for our town and do whatever I can to help make whatever improvements to its infrastructure are necessary.

I am immensely grateful for the way in which the county council responded to my concerns about the state of the road – I was, after all, the county councillor for Richmond myself some 20 years ago – so know the ropes – but I always found that treating their excellent officers professionally and with courtesy and respect usually won the day.

Angela Harris, Baroness Harris of Richmond.

Other influences

IN the article “Baroness meeting sparks access row” (D&S Times, Aug 27), I can see why Cllr Parsons is annoyed by the behaviour over the meeting in question given in his account. However I feel I must challenge some points he made.

Firstly, Angela Harris, to our knowledge was not “pulling rank” at all, by insisting only the highest levels of officer attend a meeting or even that she asked for a meeting. That was how county council leader Cllr Carl Les chose to respond.

As for passing information on, Mrs Harris is a separate being to Mr Harris, an independent woman. Mr Harris may not think it appropriate to, or indeed have the time to pass on the content of all council meetings. Angela Harris is a citizen of Richmond and as such has a right to ask for information.

Without doubt, councillors play an important role in our local political life and we all would want them to retain a “trusting” nature. However, whether they like it or not, there are people who play a greater role in public life than our own local representatives. Rishi Sunak is one and Mrs Harris is another.

Being a former Lib Dem, Cllr Parsons is well aware of the contribution Angela Harris has, and continues to play, with well over 40 years in service to our country and our area.

I think Cllr Les’s response showed sensitivity and respect to her role and it has resulted in potholes being filled, which we all wanted.

Cynthia Pode, Richmond.