Bus cut backs: Within a short time, large areas of Eaglescliffe and Yarm will lose their bus services. Information has been coming out piecemeal. Residents deserve better.

Your front page on June 23 led on the petition launched by the Conservative MP for Stockton South about cutbacks to the Arriva No. 17 bus service, “MP launches petition as bus cutback row deepens” (D&S Times, Cleveland, June 23).

Last Friday’s Cleveland edition front page quotes the Tees Valley Mayor saying, “The number 17 will continue to ferry pupils to school in Eaglescliffe and Ingleby Barwick before the summer break.”

The Tees Valley Combined Authority’s media release of June 28 vaguely says that “agreement has been reached” over the Number 17.

Our MP’s Facebook page says, “Arriva have now agreed to continue the 17 service until the end of the school summer term, and an agreement with an alternative socially responsible provider is being put in place for September to ensure Yarm and Eaglescliffe stay connected.”

As at July 3, timetables on Arriva’s website still show that the cutbacks to the No.17 service, combined with the withdrawal of the 7A and X12, will mean that from July 9, there will be no bus services at all in Eaglescliffe west of the railway line (including Orchard, Kingsmead and Hunter’s Green estates) or the south-eastern suburbs of Yarm.

Eaglescliffe and Yarm will lose their through buses connecting them with Ingleby Barwick, Thornaby and Middlesbrough.

Our MP’s website did not say to whom his petition was to be sent. His Facebook page said that the petition would help him to call on Arriva to accept the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s “fair deal” (ie, the proposed level of reimbursement of concessionary fares, regarded by the bus company as making some of its services unprofitable).

So, unwittingly signatories were attributed as supporting the side of the argument over bus cutbacks which blames the bus company.

We are still suffering the effects of a previous Conservative government’s 1985 Transport Act, which deregulated bus services, allowing operators to confine themselves to profitable routes, leaving local government (increasingly squeezed financially) to pay for concessionary fares and (if they can still be afforded) subsidising other necessary services.

John Fletcher, Eaglescliffe, Stockton.

Autism support

THE system for assessing Autism and ADHD does indeed appear, as the CEO of the North East Autism Society commented "to be in a state of collapse". “Autism waiting lists double in 18 months” (D&S Times, June 30).

Following on from this, I can report that the system for post-diagnostic support does not seem, from my personal experience, to be any better.

I received a formal NHS diagnosis of autism in 2019 and I have spent the last four years searching for this illusive, but much sought-after "support".

Nicola Bulmer (parent) is hopeful of "the support that comes with diagnosis", but I would caution her against too much optimism.

If anyone can tell me where I might find this support, I would be extremely grateful.

Susan Chipping, Catterick Garrison.

Town pride

A COUPLE of Saturdays ago a group of Leyburn residents, including the town council and U3A members, spent two hours picking up litter from around the town.

As I had started in the market square I soon realised that the various clumps of grass and weeds growing round seats etc. were adding to the problem, as all sorts of bits of litter got caught up in them. Also they hardly made the centre of the town look tidy and smart.

So, this morning I took my tools and a bag and started pulling out weeds.

I began near the Town Hall and all was going slowly, but well, when a van (with the old Richmondshire District Council logo on) pulled up and the driver gave me a black bag, as by now mine was full.

We had a short discussion as to who was responsible for clearing all the weeds etc which grow up in the town centre and as a result he kindly helped me continue my task.

We filled another black bag between us, by which time I had had enough weeding for one day and he had bins to empty and toilets to clean on a Sunday morning.

So a big "thank you" to Kevin for helping me make our town look more cared for.

It is still a work in progress and anyone can join in, so please feel free to do so.

Let's put some pride back into Leyburn.

Sheila Simms, Leyburn.

Climate denier?

I HOPE that I am not prevented from responding to Dr. Kinsman’s letter “Climate change”, (D&S Times June 30) so as to allow me to confirm that I am not a “climate denier” but rather, am humble enough to realise that humankind cannot alter climate by playing about with fossil fuels.

I started off the current debate by questioning the sense of desecrating farm land near Bishopton with a solar farm when there are plenty of suitable warehouse roofs or brown field sites available. That is, closing down "green" jobs in farming and replacing them with inefficient solar panels which will be hazardous waste within 20 to 25 years.

It seems to me that Brexit Britain should be cashing in on the opportunity to export meat and dairy produce and saving good pasture land for meat production rather than solar panels.

The reason that the climate debate will not end is that, with every passing year sensible people see that the forecast climate disasters have not come to pass.

Wildfires are more likely to have been started by man (either, intentionally, or accidentally) than by our use of fossil fuels.

I’m fed up with the predictions and that were (and still are) being used to scare the children based on incorrect climate change models and false prophesies of the climate activists.

Unfortunately, when failed politicians with our taxpayers cash to throw around, meet a consensus of scientists who are consistently wrong in their predictions then democracy and common sense are ignored in favour of the ghastly policy of zero-carbon financed by taxpayer’s cash.

The poor get poorer and the scientists and establishment (who allocate the cash) get richer.

Alastair PG Welsh, Aycliffe Village.

Happy flyers

I'D like to offer an alternative view of Teesside Airport from that of Ian Ferguson, whose letter was published in the D&S on June 30.

Whilst I agree that the war memorial should be readily accessible, I do not recognise his description of the airport as being "unfriendly" and having the "kerb appeal of a prison camp".

My wife and friends of ours flew recently from Teesside to Amsterdam and had an excellent experience.

The long-term car park was within a short walking distance of the terminal, check-in and security processing were very efficient, and the café was a pleasant place to wait for our flight.

We flew on a comfortable, quiet KLM aircraft and arrived at Schiphol Airport on time, and the return journey was equally efficient.

The airport staff were friendly and professional, and we'll certainly fly from there again.

Philip Mason, Kirkby Fleetham, Northallerton.

Open for visitors

RICHMONDSHIRE Museum would like to thank those who helped make the garden event at Manor House, Skeeby so successful – £2,000 was raised for museum funds.

A special thank you to Val and Ian Hepworth for the use of their garden and their help.

We suffered from two years of Covid with no income or funding help so we need events like this to ensure we can continue to provide a museum for Richmond.

We are open until the end of October so please come and visit us.

We can also provide tours and presentations to local groups.

Mike Wood, chairman, Richmondshire Museum.

Open gardens

HOW lucky we are to have such amazing gardeners so near to Darlington who are prepared to work incredibly hard throughout the year to prepare their beautiful gardens each year for hundreds of visitors and all done in the name of charity.

Sadly I missed the gardens at Croft, recently opened in aid of the church but this weekend we have been treated to a wonderful mixture of the Hidden Gardens of Croft Road, all beautiful and opened for the NGS in aid of many worthy health charities which unfortunately some of us or our families and friends may benefit from at some point in our lives.

There are more gardens opening in Darlington next weekend in Langholm Crescent and in August at Walworth so do look on the NGS website for all information, delicious teas should also tempt you and make the visit a really worthwhile outing. I'm hoping the weather is kind too.

Aileen Little, Darlington.

Fireworks cancelled

I HOPE nobody is surprised by the newly elected Labour councillors cancelling the South Park fireworks in Darlington.

Once again they are showing the lack of vision and the managed decline that led to them being kicked out of power four years ago.

Labour have no other way, they can’t possibly think of a way of making a fireworks display, which tens of thousands of people want to go to, economically viable.

Labour talk about the cost-of-living crisis, but their two recent announcements (cut free parking and the cancellation of the fireworks display) will mean families have to spend more and the Labour councillors really couldn’t care less, they have the votes and they will do what they always do – ignore the people of this town.

A fireworks display has proven to:

1. Cut firework-related antisocial behaviour.

2. Boost the town’s economy

3. Reduce the impact on our town’s emergency services.

Of course, Councillor Harker will make cancelling the event one of his top priorities.

It is not too late, I urge every reader to email Councillor Harker expressing your disgust at the decision and ask him what he will cut next to accelerate the managed decline of our town.

You never know he might make a U-turn, just like his hero Sir Keir Starmer.

Michael Walker, Darlington.

Out of touch

A GROWING list of organisations, including the taxman, are closing down telephone access from customers.

At the same time, new security regulations for online payments to companies are being introduced without warning, explanation or guidance.

FAQs are the questions that these organisations choose and are frequently irrelevant to the problems. "Chat" by laborious typing is totally inadequate and greatly restricts the detail and tone of a complaint.

Yesterday, Morrisons cancelled my online delivery at 2.30am saying they could not process my payment but offering no explanation or suggestions that actually worked.

I have had to find a new supplier. Quite apart from the distress caused by these policies, how can management within these organisations make effective decisions when they are so out of touch with the people they serve?

Rob Thompson, Hovingham.