Cycling benefits

Reading your article on parking problems round Crosby Road in Northallerton – “Plea to end car parking ‘chaos’ at police HQ (D&S Times, Oct 28) – set me thinking.

Northallerton sits in an area of flat or gently undulating countryside.

I guess a high proportion of the people who drive to work at the police HQ live within a few miles of Northallerton.

Five or six miles is a gentle, enjoyable and health-giving half hour bicycle ride. If a good proportion of the people who currently drive to work came in on a bike, the parking problem would disappear and there would be benefits to the environment and the individuals' health and bank balances.

I anticipate cries of derision at this suggestion but if the will was there, it is perfectly practical.

True, a cultural change is needed.

But look at the Netherlands, a country with a climate much like ours where people of all ages and social backgrounds cycle to work.

Modern cycle clothing means that the weather need very seldom be an impediment.

Thousands of people commute to work by bike in London, many of them professionals.

You do not need to be super fit to ride the sort of distances most people travel to work.

At the age of 83, I have graduated to an e-bike which is another option. It enables me to regularly ride 20-plus miles without difficulty.

So, get your bikes out, Northallerton commuters, and enjoy the benefits of a health giving and almost free ride to work every morning.

Gerald Hodgson, Spennithorne, Leyburn.

Sunak’s selection

IN your November 4 edition Christopher Bourne-Arton, President of Richmond Constituency Conservative Association, explains the procedure whereby Rishi Sunak was selected by the local party as a Parliamentary candidate – "Appointment" (D&S Times Letters, Nov 4).

He says that Mr Sunak’s CV was not the first on the long list “but made it purely on its strength and the story it told – ability and hard graft – to get where he was from an ordinary background”.

An ordinary background?

Is this the same Rishi Sunak whose parents sent him to Winchester College (current fees for boarders £45,936 per year) and Lincoln College, Oxford?

I think Mr Bourne-Arton tells us all we need to know about the Conservative Party’s perception of, and empathy with, the “ordinary” people of the UK.

Robin Brooks, Barningham, Richmond.

Rural phone boxes

JUST at a time when we are looking for on-street electric charging points for the new generation of electric cars, we are removing rural and urban telephone boxes.

Surely electric charging points could be fitted onto telephone boxes to add this additional purpose to them?

For the most part many of us know where they are in our own local communities.

This would also allow us to preserve the call box network.

Cllr Nigel Boddy (Lib Dem), North Road Ward, Darlington.

Rights of way

I WOULD like to take issue with the letter “Footpath signs” (D&S Times letters, Oct 21).

The correspondent complained that farmers fail to highlight rights of way across their land.

I suggest the writer reads Section 27 of the Countryside Act 1968 which states that Highway Authorities (county councils or unitary authorities) have a legal duty to erect and maintain a signpost at every point where a right of way leaves a hard surfaced road.

Great Fencote was the village in question and there is no right of way through the private drive and entrance to the farm referred to by the correspondent.

The designated footpath leads from the centre of the village between two private dwellings (some distance from the farm entrance) and after crossing a field skirts the farm buildings.

I doubt if the correspondent would welcome footpath walkers through her private entrance and garden.

I walk local footpaths regularly in the Bedale area and have never had any problem with access.

I have never encountered a locked gate but then I have hopefully stayed on designated rights of way and not entered private property.

Elizabeth Sanderson, Bedale.

Difficult issues

ABOUT eight years ago I wrote to my MP about the large numbers of African migrants sailing from Libya principally to Italy also some from mainly Syria were arriving in Greece.

At the time the rules were that migrants should register in the first country that they arrive in, this meant that countries in the north of Europe were immune to the problem.

I put it to you that Europe is like a sponge when countries in the south fill up (when migrants presence becomes burdensome) the migrants move further north.

Today in England the county of Kent is being overburdened with migrants and in the fullness of time the migrants will spread further north.

The government and the EU have had eight years to resolve this problem in finding out why the migrants are leaving their homes and embarking on a very dangerous journey.

If they cannot resolve this then we cannot expect them to tackle the climate change problem which is just slightly more difficult.

Brian Tyldesley, Middleham.

Help and support

THERE is further evidence that people in North Yorkshire are facing rising poverty levels.

A recent report published by North Yorkshire County Council (September 2022) looked at "the growing need for, and dependence on, foodbanks across the county…" with up to a 58 per cent increase in the number of households using foodbanks in recent months.

The report is a hard read as it highlights the difficulties people faced even before inflation topped ten per cent and energy bills soared. The situation is only getting worse.

Food bank and other food support providers in North Yorkshire have seen demand for their help increase as people struggle to manage the impact of the rising cost of living, the legacy of financial instability and increasing debt after the pandemic.

This has presented a range of challenges to households on low incomes. Many people who would not traditionally seek help are now needing it.

Demand for council-funded support schemes continues to grow.

In Ryedale, applications to the North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund have more than doubled in recent months.

This is the time for the Conservative government to increase financial support for those in poverty and not to be advocating cutting public spending.

I call on Kevin Hollinrake MP to show his support for those struggling to make ends meet in Thirsk and Malton.

BA Southwell, Bagby, Thirsk.

Calendar change

I REFER to the article “Village celebrates famous son” (D&S Times, Nov 4).

The Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum in Great Ayton celebrated the great explorer's birthday on the “old style” date – October 27, 1728.

The 18th Century change from the Julian to Gregorian calendar enables his birthday to be referenced as “new style” date – November 7, 1728.

The calendar change also impacts historians studying the dates in the journals and log books of Cook’s vessels.

The international date line had yet to be introduced when Cook sailed into the Pacific causing further complications.

It is not surprising the D&S refer to a birthday date of November 7 whilst the village celebrates Captain Cook’s birthday on October 27!

John Fletcher, Great Ayton.

Thinking positively

I WOULD like to respond to a letter from Dr John R Gibbins “No positive ideas” (D&S Times, Nov 4).

As I suspected Dr Gibbins has no positive ideas to solve the problems facing the country except advocating that the State should take over all responsibility.

Running down the country seems to be Dr Gibbins' mantra.

Does he think any of our current political parties could do a better job of running the country or would he conceive a one-party state run on the lines of Communist China or Russia?

How about some positive thinking and less negativity to help the country prosper. One lives in hope.

Neil Tunningley, Newby Wiske.

Toxic waste

WHILST the powers that be are saying that algae could be the cause of the dead sea life washed upon our beaches, nobody seems to have mentioned the demolition of the steelworks being the cause.

My husband worked in the steelworks for 30 years and saw ponds of toxic waste which had laid dormant for decades from steelmaking.

It seems strange all this dead sea life started emerging around the start of the demolition, when land was disturbed. This toxic waste had to go somewhere, potentially leeching into the river and sea.

It seems a bit of a coincidence the sea life washed up in the vicinity of the steelworks.

M Lockey, Stockton-on-Tees.

Costly coffee

HARDLY had a day passed from the mention of inflation than the retailers, cafés and restaurants in Darlington all jacked up their prices.

One café in Darlington my wife and I used to frequent put their prices up by eight per cent in one day.

The band wagon was jumped on by all of them almost immediately. Cost are one thing but greed is another.

Now they are whinging about lack of footfall in the town.

Do they think their customers are all stupid?

Chris Greenwell, Darlington.

Out of order

I MOSTLY shop at Tesco in Northallerton as there are plenty of disabled places.

The last three weeks I have visited the store I have used the toilets, but found the disabled one out of order, using the public ones out of the two, one has been out of order too.

When are they going to be repaired?

Margaret Sanders, Romanby.