High standards

IT looks as if we may get Northallerton High Street back within only a year of the contractors starting work.

The standard of the work appears to be very good but can we be assured that the huge cost borne by the ratepayers and council taxpayers is not wasted.

The standard of reinstatements elsewhere on the High Street, particularly outside the Golden Lion as shown in the attached photograph, completely ruins the effect.

Will councils and contractors be required to do a more appropriate job when the new paving is inevitably dug up again?

Ian Smithson, Romanby, Northallerton.

Solar support

THIS month Richmondshire Council will consider a full planning application to build a solar farm near Skeeby.

We live in Richmond and received a leaflet opposing the development. We were surprised that it mentioned climate change as an afterthought, in small print at the very bottom of the page.

Climate change cannot be an afterthought, it is our big issue. It threatens the future of landscape, people, wildlife, and buildings.

Not in a gentle way sometime far in the future. In an immediate and increasingly dangerous way. Remember the devastation caused in Swaledale by the floods? The National Trust has produced an online video, “Tackling Climate Change Together” which describes the danger to landscape and historic buildings and what we can all do to lessen it.

Alternative energy, like solar power, will help us reduce the threat of climate change by lessening our use of fossil fuels. We need change. Many places face the same decision about solar farms. If we all say no, the damage from climate change continues to grow.

Let’s address, as far as is reasonable, the concerns raised by the people against the solar farm: adequate screening from the road, continued right of way access, rigorous monitoring of any local impact, and safe disposal of any used solar panels to avoid long term pollution.

Then let us get on and allow this solar farm to be built and so safeguard Richmond and the Dales for future generations.

We support the building of a solar farm for Richmond.

Jenny and John Boulds, Richmond.

Thirst for electric

IN 1928, Rudyard Kipling wrote about "the permanent disfigurement of the landscape". He was referring to the electricity pylons which had appeared in Falkirk in Scotland. Do we now, almost 100 years later, ever give them a second glance?

Our thirst for electricity is unquenchable. How would farmers milk their cows, builders manage their large tools, traffic lights work for our benefit, homes run without electric kettles, mixers, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, radio and television when the current methods of providing electricity can no longer meet demand?

I find it ludicrous to suggest that visitors to beautiful Richmond would be put off by a solar farm on the Darlington road.

Neither the building site at Scotch Corner, or the largest military establishment in Western Europe at Catterick Garrison, seem to deter people, so why should the solar farm?

Having looked at the planning department's plans, it is clear that the structures will face south (obviously) and that screening hedges are part of the scheme. And I wouldn't mind betting that future visitors to Richmond will climb the Castle tower in the hope of seeing this modern curiosity.

Until we are no longer dependent upon electricity for our essential needs, we have to produce it somehow. My personal preference is for tidal barriers.

Would the Skeeby objectors prefer a noisy wind farm?

Daphne Clarke, Richmond.

Green energy

EVEN those who don’t want it, seem to agree more green energy is needed. However, no-one seems to mention the need for us to take responsibility for using less energy.

When it comes to food scarcity, we can’t eat solar-panels, not least because they contain highly toxic ingredients: cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, hexafluoroethane, lead, polyvinyl fluoride, silicon tetrachloride, a highly toxic by-product of producing crystalline silicon.

Apart from the risk of these ingredients to handlers in the process of construction and disposal, will these toxins leach into the soil rendering it impossible to use for subsequent food or animal feeding?

Susan Holden, Richmond.


HOW encouraging to see in last week’s edition of Northern Farmer, included within the D&S Times, Dallas Keith Ltd promoting bio-degradable containers for sheep supplements.

At last an end is in sight to the plethora of multi-coloured, single-use plastic containers blown and washed down our Pennine rivers to festoon culverts, banks and the branches of low-lying trees. Hideously unattractive, potentially dangerous and a blot on our otherwise beautiful landscapes for decades.

To the ecologically-conscious upland farmers of Wensleydale and Coverdale, in particular, I would refer them to page 27 of Northern Farmer for their next purchase, before the winter floods come.

Richard Wells, East Witton.

Ways to a knighthood

1) Take your country to war on what we now know was proven to be a pack of lies

2) In doing so, needlessly sacrifice the lives of hundreds of our soldiers and thousands of innocent civilians

3) Cause endless instability in those Middle Eastern countries involved and then have the bare faced audacity to claim this as your legacy. Add to this, during your period of tenure, bringing your country to the verge of bankruptcy, then jump ship leaving your underling to carry the can.

Trevor Mason, Swainby.

Icy pavements

FOLLOWING a very frosty night, the footpaths in and around Northallerton High Street were covered with ice and dangerous to walk on.

Surely some salt should be put on footpaths as well as roads?

Who decides when salt should be used? Are they waiting for someone to fall and break some bones?

I thought we were being encouraged to walk instead of drive and keep out of A&E.

Elaine Wright, Northallerton.

Time for a re-think

IT is reported that the mayor of Tees Valley and this government want to spend £110m remodelling Darlington's Bank Top station “Work will start on station redevelopment in summer” (D&S Times, Dec 31).

In view of the catastrophic collapse in rail passenger numbers, caused by the pandemic, (and the high likelihood rail services will be cut further) why would anyone currently want to spend that kind of money on this particular capital project?

In many ways, the scheme is woefully inadequate anyway. Should a programme of maintenance work be put in place instead, to simply restore the existing station (fix the guttering perhaps and paint the woodwork) whilst the whole matter is re-examined?

Simple track maintenance on a crumbling network, maybe a higher priority to those of us still using the trains.

Cllr Nigel Boddy, North Road Ward, Darlington.

Social care levy

I HAVE been surprised that there have been no letters on this subject in recent weeks since the details of the proposals were announced.

I am one of those, who if I live long enough, could benefit from the proposals even though I will not have to make any contribution. A good deal you could say.

Like most of the Chancellor's proposals during the pandemic, it will potentially be of most benefit to those amongst us who are better off.

Under the proposals, as I understand them, people who will never have enough assets or own their own house to benefit under the proposals will have to contribute to the National Insurance Levy whilst others because of their age will not have to make any contribution.

In addition the fixed level of the threshold will have a detrimental effect on those with fewer assets or a low value property. Someone with a small terraced house in a low value area could lose virtually all the value within the £75,000 threshold whilst for others with high value properties and other assets the loss could be virtually insignificant.

Would it not be much fairer to have a variable threshold of a percentage of the value of the property and other assets. Is this part of the so called levelling-up?

Please Mr Chancellor reconsider your proposals and amend it so that everybody except the very poorest make a contribution irrespective of age and the levy should be collected on all sources of income including second pensions, rental income, dividends and capital gains.

Perhaps you could explain your thinking in your column in this newspaper.

David Law, Melmerby.

College memories

THE proposed demolition of now empty buildings that were once home to the Northern School of Art, previously Cleveland College of Art & Design, in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, has been making the news recently.

Supermarket chain Lidl has apparently bought the disused site on Roman Road and hopes to build a new outlet there.

The art college is growing and has moved to a new site in central Middlesbrough. Apparently the old buildings are no longer fit for its modern needs. It is one of the few specialist art-and-design colleges in the UK and has a strong reputation.

There has been some debate about the old site in Linthorpe, including its potential future use and the felling of some mature trees there. However, in this letter I simply want to say a fond farewell to the old Linthorpe campus.

I was a student there during the late 1980s, after doing my A-levels at Stokesley School, and then worked at the art college for some years on a part-time basis during the mid-1990s. I also lived in Linthorpe for a few years. (I later became a D&S Times reporter.)

I have great memories of Cleveland College of Art & Design, including the Linthorpe site's architecture, interior design and fittings, and its facilities, staff and students.

The Linthorpe site was first opened in 1960. It had an older wing and a more-modern wing facing Roman Road. The modern wing, with a distinctive concrete framework and bricks, had some beautiful architecture and interior design. Inside it was a delight, with a mix of bright, airy open-plan areas, large, small, low and tall rooms, and some intimate lower-light spaces too.

Just as importantly, the college's atmosphere, buzz and enthusiasm was great too. There was a wide mix of students, courses and facilities, ranging from traditional painting and drawing classes to graphic design, textile and fashion studios, furniture and 3-D design, ceramics, sculpture, photography, film, TV and media studies.

The campus, staff and students also added to Linthorpe's daily life and its village character, day and night. Students bought art materials and magazines in local shops on Roman Road, supported other local businesses including a photographic film processing company and drank in Linthorpe pubs.

However, I realise that change is constant. Even though I have some nostalgia for the past, I also wish the contemporary Northern School of Art well in its new central Middlesbrough home. Its reputation is excellent and it has a range of courses for today's creative students.

I would like to think that the old Roman Road buildings could find a new use.

When I read that the old buildings are to be demolished, I went to Roman Road to take some final photographs of the old site. I now live in Manchester but I wanted to record those buildings that I loved being in and also to remember lots of happy times at Cleveland College of Art & Design and the surrounds of Roman Road and Linthorpe.

Robbie MacDonald, Withington, Manchester.