Selfish parking

I HAVEN’T had cause to write to a newspaper until today when I had an appointment at the Friary Hospital in Richmond for an x-ray at 9.30am.

I arrived with 15 minutes to spare only to find the car park full of cars on the grass verges and in the ambulance parking bays (see photo).

I had to park in a nearby supermarket and painfully walk to the hospital.

When I enquired I was told it was full all day, everyday as people working in town use it as it is a free carpark, although it is supposedly for hospital use only.

If you are parking in the hospital carpark, please think again, you might have need of the facilities yourself one day.

Needless to say the treatment I received from arriving to leaving was first class, thank you.

Susan Scrafton, Richmond.

Town ‘improvement’

LAST year I wrote about the ill-fated closure of Northallerton High Street but as the council continues its headlong rush into oblivion, the debacles cascade.

The "improvement" work since then has rumbled on at a snail’s pace, with the High Street temporary traffic light control being almost as destructive to trade in the High Street as last year’s closures.

As this work progresses, nay creeps at a tortuous speed, I note parking spaces are disappearing at a colossal rate. I don’t know yet the number of spaces disappearing but it is clearly substantial.

It merely adds to the loss of the quite adequate parking lost in Zetland Street to blue badge holders due to the “improvements” – there designed for the walking crowds rushing down to see the white elephant that is the Treadmills site at the former prison. I don’t believe it.

Who dreamt of restricting the quite adequate dual flow of traffic out of Zetland Street into East Road to one lane, thus causing backups due to right hand turners looking for the opportunity to cross two lanes of traffic?

In their headlong rush into attracting more visitors they, yet again, ignore the local population who just want to nip into town for a few quick purchases and out again.

All this in their drive to encourage their “creation of a new town square where we can host events and outdoor leisure activities, and rejuvenate the High Street with links to the new Treadmills development,” to quote Cllr Caroline Dickinson.

We’ll be lucky if they can get more than a dozen "events and outdoor leisure activities” throughout the short British summer, all at the cost of the loss of that transient local trade which is probably more the lifeblood of the town rather than passing tourists who, I suggest, actually spend very little in comparison.

Outlets like Nisa and the Co-op are rubbing their hands with glee as their trade increases due to lack of access in the town centre.

Well, I suppose this will be dismissed as the ranting of a deranged pensioner but I sternly feel someone has to point out that change is not always for the better.

Phil Nesbit, Northallerton.

Noisy motorcycles

I SEE that Paris is introducing a device which measures the decibel levels of motorbikes and photographs the number plates of those who exceed the permitted level, facilitating prosecutions.

I suggest that such devices could also be used in Wensleydale where, especially during summer weekends, motorbikes with disabled silencers scream up the dale in their hundreds.

Here in Spennithorne we hear them on the A684 to the north of us and the A6108 to the south.

To people whose houses front these roads the noise must be even more intolerable.

Some motorcycles purr along at legal speeds and are welcome in the Dale. Unfortunately, a large proportion are the noise and speed brigade whose appalling accident record says it all.

Gerald Hodgson, Spennithorne, Leyburn.

Case relevance

I REFER to your article regarding the crowd funding appeal in the legal case of Teesdale farmer Robert Hooper. “Legal fees appeal launched for farmer” (D&S Times, Feb 18).

There is an inference, and a danger, that this case is simply seen as an issue for farmers in remote areas dealing with selfish tourists when in fact it may well be of much more relevance to town and city householders.

Had this decision gone the other way it would have opened the door to a very annoying, and apparently increasing, practice – reported several times in the national press as an apparent loophole in the law – of selfish drivers simply parking their vehicles in the first vacant driveway they find at someone's home in overcrowded towns and cities.

It saves them looking for parking and avoids parking charges. In one reported case the driver even demanded money before they would remove their vehicle.

This decision gives greater legal clarity, and support, to any householder finding themselves in what must be an extremely stressful and frustrating position.

It is a sad reality of the British justice system that if you wish to defend a principle you have to be prepared to pay for it; surrender it; or hope that someone else defends it for you.

This gentleman has defended a principal that many householders may benefit from at some time in the future and it would be nice to think that he is not going to have to bear the very significant costs by himself.

John Hutchinson, Brompton on Swale.

Oil alternative

YOU published two responses to my letter which had bemoaned the lack of interest that our MPs are taking in the rising cost of living of their rural constituents “Heating oil” (D&S Times letters, Feb 11).

One was a historical analysis of the cost of heating oil “Oil prices” and the other was a well-informed letter from A J Gobbi “Heating changes” (D&S letters, Feb 18)

Mr Gobbi highlighted the imminent heating crisis that parliament has chosen to inflict on a largely unprepared rural community to combat climate change.

Global warming is a real worldwide problem with the majority of emissions coming from China and the USA.

The UK’s contribution is negligible and the rural communities' carbon emissions will barely register. What Mr Gobbi describes is that our government is choosing to virtue signal by curtailing the availability of oil boilers without having a practical alternative which will then harm our rural communities.

Geoff Solomon, Danby Wiske.

Solar weakness

W CALVERT is right in many ways about our shrinking agricultural land being used for solar farms “Solar solutions” (D&S Times letters, Feb 11)

I can understand struggling farmers thinking they’ve found a new source of income, but the storm which devastated solar panels on a farm near Billingham may show a weakness in this plan.

He’s also right about putting solar panels on as many buildings as possible, especially as they’re more efficient and cheaper than when I had half a dozen fitted.

Although the 20p per unit the energy company charge me for electricity from them, and the 5p per unit I get for the electricity I send to them, seems more biased to profit than encouraging the use of ways to tackle global warming.

But businesses, tenants, governments, and the earth all benefit along with all the jobs.

Unfortunately, the UK leaders have spent so many billions of our money on dubious exploits and I doubt there’s much left in the pot.

C Davison, Billingham.

Urban sprawl

IT appears Darlington is going to lose yet another green area nearby, the farmland near Mowden.

Can anyone justify this when so many buildings are empty in the town centre? The cattle market, M&S building, Northgate tower and many more.

We are experiencing severe weather due to climate change and are warned of shortages of parts in the building industry, yet Darlington Council continues to pass through plans that allow more destructive building projects and more out of town shops being built while neglecting our town centre. Older houses are getting harder to sell and are being sold at a loss.

Has our council not being listening to the Glasgow climate change talks?

Moira Bradey, Darlington.

Thanks guys

DURING the recent extremely wet and windy weather conditions, my recycling bins were blown over resulting in bottles and broken glass being blown down the street.

Although the bins were not due to be emptied until later, the staff of the recycling lorry, which luckily was in the area, came to my rescue and helped me to retrieve the bottles and brought a brush and swept up the broken glass.

They then emptied all of my recycling and even took my recycle and bottle bin down the drive and stood them next to the back gate.

Thank you so much to the guys who went above and beyond, it was much appreciated.

Name supplied, Darlington.

Man’s inhumanity

THERE are eight billion people in the world, but less than one billion are better off than us. The majority of people on this earth live in various states of squalor. Despite this the better off inflict even more suffering on the others. The least hurtful way is by exploitation but worse is by war.

Climate change is a sort of exploitation, the worse off suffer the most.

Climate change will probably end mankind.

Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and Vladimir Putin can do much to prevent all the world’s wars but can do nothing to stop climate change. We can do nothing to prevent war but can make a big impact on climate change.

If we make an effort, our leaders will be shamed into following suit. Even if we are unsuccessful we will be greater for trying.

Chris Pattison, Richmond.

Weak West

FOR perhaps 40 years Russia and their federation states have sent operatives to Britain to kill other Russians that they do not like and that have been living here.

The two latest being Alexander Litvinenko, who fell ill from polonium poisoning on November 1, 2006 and subsequently died.

Later there was the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal with the Novichok nerve agent on March 4, 2018. They survived, but a few days later Dawn Sturgess was poisoned and died on July 8, 2018.

After lengthy investigations it was found that both poisonings were carried out by operatives from Russia, quite naturally President Putin denies that Russia had anything to do with this.

Recently there was the Ryanair Jet airliner flying from Athens to Vilnius that was forced to land in Minsk, Belarus because they said that a bomb had been reported to the Belarusian authorities on the plane.

When the plane landed two news reporters from Belarus were escorted from the plane. Most countries were outraged at this, describing it as airline piracy, with the exception of Russia.

Russia (Putin) does seem to have a problem with news reporters and news agencies that do not toe the party line.

In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and started meddling in the eastern provinces of Ukraine, the United Nations did little or nothing.

It was reported that Russian soldiers (in fatigues but without arm identification) were in Ukraine. The Russian explanation was that they were on leave from the army.

Putin is in his element, he has every man and his dog coming to meet him to appease and we have nothing to barter with, we never stood up to him. He made the rules.

His latest decree is that the eastern provinces of Ukraine named Donetsk and Luhansk are now independent. This could be the first step in Russia taking over.

Our politicians have no answer. I believe they are totally impotent.

Brian Tyldesley, Middleham.