Housing plans

RICHMONDSHIRE District Council has now seen fit to approve a scheme to build 240 homes in Colburn on a greenfield site, in the face of sound local opposition (D&S Times North Yorkshire edition, Oct 7).

Real concerns have been raised over the destruction of a greenfield site, with an adverse impact upon both wildlife and food production. As if this were not enough, only a fraction of the houses will have renewable energy features; local schools, healthcare facilities eg dentists and doctors’ surgeries are already struggling to cope; there is a flooding risk and the public foul sewer network may not have adequate capacity.

I do not understand why such an indefensible development is being foisted upon the area in practical terms. In financial terms, how much is this diseased white elephant going to cost the local taxpayer in the long run (when the current planning committee have moved on, presumably to even larger conurbations, having destroyed this area)?

It appears that Richmondshire District Council now has such a surfeit of council housing, that is able to turn two empty council flats into storage and charging areas for mobility scooters, so there is clearly no pressing need for council flats, or therefore, presumably, "affordable" housing. Of the 240 houses planned, only 72 are to be "affordable" in any case. Which seems harsh, since many of the youngsters of the Dales cannot afford to buy a local home due to second (or third) home owners pushing prices to ridiculous levels. Mortgages are becoming far harder to obtain in any case, regarding the bulk of the planned houses. This development is, as ever, simply a means to make a large profit, at any cost and with no heed to the consequences.

Catterick Garrison is primarily an Army base, and was home the Green Howards. Many soldiers left from this training base to fight for their country in both World Wars. The fields and countryside for which they fought so fiercely, and over which they looked as they left for the front by the train, should not be given up so easily to "create an attractive gateway to the Catterick Garrison area”. It is disrespectful.

Susan Chipping, Catterick Garrison.

Redundancy package

I FEEL I must write to defend Dr Justin Ives' redundancy package from Hambleton District Council (D&S Times, Oct 7).

The absorption of North Yorkshire's seven district councils into the county council was always going to result in the abolition of the position of their chief executives and reduction of their other chief officers. Such was the county's proud boast that they would be able to save money.

It will be extremely difficult for the chief executives to find posts elsewhere when central government policy is to abolish the smaller, more local councils. The number of other chief officers will also reduce as they compete for posts at county, likewise the number of secretarial posts. All should be treated fairly.

And Hambleton residents should not be fooled. They will not see reductions in their council tax bills. These bills will be equalised across the county and Hambleton's will rise to pay for such amenities as Harrogate's gardens and Scarborough's parks. Likewise our reserves will be shared out across the county rather than spent on local projects.

Those workers who man our swimming pools, collect our rubbish, sweep our roads, monitor food safety, overlook planning applications etc will continue to do so. We cannot do without them.

Unions should be concerned for those who do lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

Hon Alderman Susan Latter, Scruton.

Darlington station

STOCKTON, Darlington, and Shildon led the world in the development of the railways. Darlington is the home of the railway and, by rail, its station is the gateway to greater Teesside.

An opportunity came to promote the resurgent infant Hercules through that gateway and put the region firmly back on the world stage. An opportunity lost? At the other end of the line the architect of the redesigned Kings Cross Station magnificently married the old with the new with a stunning masterpiece.

A truly grand design was both deserved and needed at Darlington. Sadly, it seems to me, given the unique position of the site and some splendid Victorian architecture, we have been presented with plans for something mediocre, lacking in imagination and which fails to seize the moment. Where will it be not in 100 but 50 years time?

Tony Salmon, Faceby.

Street fair

THE response by John Tillotson to my comments about the Stokesley Street Fair (D&S Times letters, Sept 30) is not entirely accurate. If John reads my letter again he will find that my argument concerns this year's street fair which, unlike professional football and countless other events, completely ignored national mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth. As I said then it would appear that both the showmen and the lessor, Stokesley Town Council, were more concerned about their loss of revenue than showing the appropriate respect.

Insofar as the annual street fair is concerned I stand by the objection I have to this event which inconveniences residents, business and traffic. I realise John is a life long Stokesley resident however the use of tradition is not an exclusive argument. I see no reason why myself, as a resident of a mere 40 years, and others are not allowed an input into this issue. We all pay our precept tax to Stokesley Town Council so that is reason in itself to allow an input.

How the residents of Yarm feel about their annual High Street fair is their concern, of Nottingham Goose Fair I have no knowledge. However I am well acquainted with Newcastle Hoppings and can assure him that as it is held on the Town Moor the only inconvenience is to the freemen's cattle which move elsewhere to graze on the Moor.

Alwyn Boulby, Stokesley.

Drax documentary

MEMBERS of Richmond Constituency Green Party were pleased to see last Monday’s Panorama programme about Drax: The Green Energy Scandal Exposed. Secretary of our group, Michael Chaloner, has been campaigning against Drax for some time and last year contacted the BBC asking them to look into the company.

It doesn’t take a genius to appreciate that felling trees, putting them through a chipper and transporting them 11,000 miles for them to be burned at a Yorkshire power station is not good for the environment. But added to that, when they do burn the chips, they create more greenhouse gases than burning coal would have done.

This is costing all of us as the Government has already subsidised Drax to the tune of about £6bn and continues to give money to the company, claiming to be supporting green energy. The Government is paying Drax to pollute and it needs to stop.

Margaret Lowndes, Richmond Constituency Green Party.

Fantasy economics

IN my letter of August 26 I illustrated how the Conservative Party's leadership were "unable to be honest about the growing number of crises growing before our eyes" and were evidencing "level of detachment from reality," essentially "fantasy economics".

Richmond MP Rishi Sunak had a much firmer grip on reality, but party members chose a purveyor of the foundational myths of conservatism, in its purest form. This is that only the most wealthy or venture capitalists can save Britain from inevitable decline. To prompt them to unleash their wealth from savings, requires massive incentives in the form of tax cuts, removal of regulations, unwanted environmental and social levies, removal of bonus caps on bankers and imposition of restrictions on trade unions, and the clear certainty, that all forms of welfare "handouts" would be ended.

Myth finally bumped into reality last week, when these very venture capitalists baulked at the financial insanity and civic immorality. The insanity is that £45bn transfer of public assets directly into private hands would not work to unleash stored wealth. That the transfer was to be covered by additional £150bn borrowing on top of the highest level since the Second World War. That the borrowing would "pay for itself by growth". That the "plan for growth" was not a plan at all, but a "belief". That all of the experts who could see the faults in the plan, had been ignored or silenced. That growth would not follow, because the wealthy could not stimulate "effective demand" in an way imaginable.

Even city traders would see that if you want to stimulate growth you have to put money in the hands of those who will spend, namely ordinary people. Bankers will just bank it.

To stabilise the currency, to stop pension funds collapsing, £68bn of our money or wealth, has had to be given to currency traders to stop shorting the pound. The losers are all of the rest of us from students to pensioners, who will have to suffer even higher inflation, years of more of austerity, blighted hopes and aspirations.

The plot for this Blundering budget is in the madcap ideas of Ayn Rand, a hero of the extreme right and darling of the Institute for Economic Affairs. Look closely at this government's multi-billion uncosted establishment of free ports and free zones. These are modelled on Rand's idea of secure protected communities behind which venture capitalist can operate without any regulations. And why? To maximise their freedom with no concern for the freedom and well being of others.

Dr John R Gibbins, Sowerby, Thirsk.

Mock outrage

THE recent mock outrage from right wing media to Nicola Sturgeon's comments about the Tories seems starkly at odds with some senior ministers' libertarian views. As George Orwell observed many decades past; "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don't want to hear."

Ministers' stances are a classic case of cognitive dissonance, as with so much of what passes as current on-the-hoof policy making. There's a lot of it about.

Gus Pennington, Stokesley

Park footpaths

THESE past few months I have taken my wife out in her wheelchair round Darlington’s Tommy Crooks Park and I find it worrying that the pathways round the park are so dangerous – the tarmac is breaking up leaving potholes, and on a couple of occasions if my wife had not been strapped in she would have tipped out.

I have written twice to Darlington Borough Council Parks Department with no reply.

Perhaps this letter will embarrass the council into taking some action.

Michael Sinclair, Darlington.

Getting Brexit done

FOLLOWING years of austerity came Brexit. Both are considered now to have been very important contributors to our current dire economic state.

As a Remainer I was encouraged by those who voted to leave the EU to accept the referendum decision and get on with the consequences of leaving. I am still a Remainer and never understood why I should change my views to oblige the Brexiteers. So, after six years I believe I'm entitled to moan about the consequences that are now apparent.

What 17 million people bought into and was articulated by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove was that the NHS will be stronger, class sizes smaller and taxes lower. We 'll have more money to spend on our priorities. Wages will be higher and fuel bills will be lower.

Making such comments like that about the future benefits of Brexit was stupid, deluding and we now live with the consequences.

Polls indicate that a majority would now not support Brexit,so isn't it time for a full investigation into the mistakes and mismanagement made in "getting Brexit done".

John Hopkins, Crakehall.