Forgotten Richmond

I WONDER if your readers know of the extraordinary decision not to signpost Richmond from the A1 coming from the south? Whilst the extended roadworks have been taking place, I believe it was assumed that Richmond would eventually appear on the blue motorway signs on completion. It appears not. That is – until one reaches Scotch Corner.

Catterick and Colburn are both signed in large letters on the blue background – but where is Richmond? In fact, anyone travelling to us from the south would be hard pressed, without a map, to find it at all. Not even on the slip road (which some of us in the know take) does the name “Richmond” appear.

No – you have to go all the way up to Scotch Corner before you find any mention of one of the most famous historic towns in the country. Then you have to negotiate the dismal speed humps in Skeeby before finally making it to Richmond.

Pevsner listed Richmond as being one of the six most beautiful towns in the country. It seems the Highways Agency have never heard of us!

Reinstate our name – boldly and clearly please – and then also bring back our large brown Historic Market Town signs which you removed and now tell us don’t “conform” to today’s standards.

I don’t think either Catterick or Colburn ever had those before – so listen to all those who are asking you to do this – our MP, our Business Association, our town council. But, for heaven’s sake, put our name up on the motorway signs in the first place.

Baroness Harris of Richmond

Any relief?

THE current development of the Northallerton relief road between Darlington Road and Stokesley Road is now well under construction and the arrival of the bridge over the railway line eagerly awaited. Site boards and council plans announce a large complex of housing, shops, a school, leisure facilities, and landscaping of this area on the northern outskirts of the town.

The centre of Northallerton is also to have a major development on the former prison site comprising of residential, shops, restaurants, leisure facilities, a cinema and an open landscaped area.

Have the local councillors had a walk along Northallerton High Street recently? The number of empty premises is alarming. Some of the privately-owned specialist shops are being priced out of business with high rents and business rates.

Are these additional commercial premises really needed in Northallerton?

The county town of North Yorkshire, Northallerton has certainly grown and developed over the 30 years I have lived here.

Surely I am not alone in my concerns that these present development schemes are over ambitious and may result in simply creating more empty shops and office premises on the High Street.

I found a travel writer’s comment in a coach company brochure which said: “Unfortunately there is little to entice tourists to visit Northallerton. As you approach it, it looks an obviously attractive area in which to live, but it is very much a ‘one street, blink and you missed it’ town to visit for no longer than an hour or so for a meal or essential shopping.

“Unfortunately, I cannot recommend anything of historic or cultural interest here. Northallerton must surely be the most uninteresting and featureless county town in the whole country.”

Hopefully, the new relief road over the railway will ease the present traffic chaos in Northallerton caused by the level crossing closing the road with annoying regularity.

For drivers other than local residents, however, it may simply become a welcome bypass!

N Smith, Brompton, Northallerton

Buck passing

AFTER reading North Yorkshire County Council's intention to “toughen up” it's inspections of road works reinstatement by utility companies and the like (D&S Times, October 20) I did not believe such hypocrisy could exist, considering the current disgraceful condition of the county's minor roads and lanes.

Noting Don Macenzie's statement that one in ten inspections of utility companies work fail compared to NYCC work and their total failure to maintain the roads in the first place, it would be very interesting to know what parameters they expect utility companies to work to, as even the worst examples of utility companies’ work would be superior to the county council’s own reinstatement work, such as filling roadside erosion with road planings.

I have first-hand experience witnessing the council's own staff attempting to lay tarmac onto mud in Black Horse Lane. "We are just doing as we are told" was the answer when I challenged the incompetence of such actions. In reality this appears to be just another ruse by NYCC to lay blame for their own inadequacies and to issue monetary fines ad-lib to companies who cannot challenge the opinion of the day.

Having had personal experience of working on the county’s roads during the sixties and seventies, eg A19 Trenholme Bar to Black Swan junction onto the Cleveland Tontine with the then council's direct works and from the Tontine to the A684 junction with Tarmac Construction, I found the contractor’s workmanship and eye to detail more than equal to the council's direct works. In fact, the council's direct works’ draconian attitude towards contractors somehow never seemed to apply to their own workmanship.

NYCC only have themselves to blame for the ever increasing potholes and fissures in our roads such as Parsons Back Lane from Potto Hall to the A19 and Doctors Lane, Hutton Rudby. Filling potholes deeper than 40mm which is a legal requirement and leaving those marginally less surely cannot be acceptable. If we motorists maintained our vehicles to the same standards as NYCC do the roads we would all be in court.

Finally just as a reminder NYCC, your pretty yellow markings around the potholes have again faded away and need repainting again and again as previously.

Trevor Mason, Swainby

Insurance “fraud”

RECENTLTY I was involved in a very minor accident at a speed of less than 1mph - minor scrape and scratching only.

My insurance company dealt with the matter most professionally and asked me if I had been injured in the accident. I assured them that I had not.

A week later my car was being repaired and my insurance company contacted me and again asked me if I had suffered any injuries. Again I assured them that I had not.

A few days later I was contacted by another company. They informed me that following my accident they had assessed that I had suffered minor injuries and minor whiplash and that they would like to claim on my behalf. The claim would be for £3,000 and I would receive the money before Christmas “and would that not be a nice Christmas present”.

I was confused and pointed out that the speed of the accident was less than 1mph and I had not suffered any injury. The caller was very careful with his wording - presumably they were recording it- simply saying I had paid insurance for many years and was entitled to this money. I finally declined the offer but I do feel that most people would have accepted the offer.

I contacted Mr Sunak, my Member of Parliament, about the matter pointing out that I considered this to be fraud but unfortunately he has not replied - presumably the Government are putting all their effort into resolving the Brexit problem.

But next time your readers renew their motor insurance the increase will be partly as the result of fraud that I have outlined.

Brian Tyldesley, Middleham

Remain or “remoan”

I REFER to the letter from Richard Short (D&S Times, October 20) which is another example of “remoaners” not accepting democracy.

He makes reference to Robert Peel defying right-wing politicians and passing the Corn Laws and uses this as an analogy for Theresa May defying Brexit MPs and giving in to the gangsters of Brussels. There is a fundamental flaw in this analogy. The Corn Laws, like Brexit, were supported by the majority of the proletariat.

“Remoaners” have thrown every red herring into the ring to obstruct the UK leaving the EU. The single market, customs union, Irish border and security relationship with the EU are all manifest problems. On what qualification can I make this point? Easy. Go back to pre-1973 when the UK was out of the EU (or, as it was then, the Common Market) when we were free of corrupt incompetent EU dictators and we dealt with all these issues easily.

Also, there is Switzerland. A little country in the middle of Europe, who per capita are probably the world's most prosperous country and are not in the EU (ignoring Gulf Arabs whose prosperity is courtesy of British and USA oil companies).

Switzerland has a relationship with the EU where they have over 100 bilateral agreements on trade, eg for chemical/pharma and medical products, specialist machinery, watches and cuckoo clocks. However, they do not have access to the single market for their largest industry, the financial sector.

With regard to current Brexit negotiations, grown up intelligent people know that when negotiating you do not show your complete hand and prepare for all possible outcomes. It the Lib-Dems were negotiating they would give in at the first round and the Corbynistas would capitulate because they do not have a clue on what to do.

The “remoaners” constantly whine and whinge with monumental arrogance that Brexit voters did not know what they were voting for. In the words of a past USA president "read my lips''. Brexit voters voted for control of our trade, taxes, immigration, borders and law and not least control of our country.

Trevor Nicholson, Leeming

Selling souls

IT looks likely that devolution for Yorkshire is on the way and, if we do nothing, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Thornaby, Yarm and Ingleby Barwick will be left out in the Tees Valley cold.

And to think we’ve sold our Yorkshire souls for a paltry £15m a year, to be shared with our Durham neighbours.

Had my own authority, Redcar and Cleveland, held its nerve and kept out of Tees Valley, it would now be poised to join a devolved Yorkshire said to be “as mighty as a country.”

Unlike the Tees Valley, Yorkshire is one of the most prosperous and successful parts of the UK. Its annual income of £113bn is greater than that of Hungary, Luxembourg, Bulgaria and Wales. Its population, at 5.3m, rivals that of Scotland. At 4,600 square miles, it is by far England’s largest county. Yorkshire has 12 universities and won 14 medals at the Rio Olympics. The “Yorkshire” brand is internationally famous.

We, south of the Tees, have a right to be part of the devolved Yorkshire enterprise.

We should ditch Tees Valley and be where we belong.

Cllr Steve Kay, Moorsholm

White poppies

WITH reference to the article ‘Remembrance poppies to cover council building’ (D&S Times, October 13).

I honour and respect the enthusiasm of Richmond District Council officers to remember and give thanks to those who have been killed or injured during their service in wars from WW1 until the present. I hope we can all work to strengthen a culture of peace.

Armistice Day marked the day that fighting stopped on November 11, 1918. The intention was not only to celebrate victory, but also to warn against future wars, and had to be cancelled in 1939, at the beginning of WW2. Since 1918 over 67m people have died in wars, and hundreds of millions of others have been injured, traumatised, bereaved, displaced and impoverished.

Today over 90 per cent of people killed in war are civilians.

White poppies first appeared on Armistice Day 1933 as an expression of concern that the war to end all wars would now be followed by an even worse war. They are worn by those of us who wish to publicly show that we believe in striving towards non-violent alternatives to war. We remember all of those who die and continue to die as a result of war, and also wear it as a symbol of hope that we may someday manage to settle conflicts without resort to killing.

The RDC offices are in Richmond. I hope we will also remember the “Richmond 16” who were imprisoned in Richmond Castle for refusing to kill, and also all of those who worked bravely and tirelessly in the Friends Ambulance Unit. As a citizen of Richmondshire I ask RDC officers to include white poppies in what looks as though it will be a spectacular display.

I will be wearing my red and white poppies alongside each other in support of the good will and intentions behind both.

Judith Nicholls, Askrigg

Disney deer

REGARDING the article “Deer Art Should Help Draw Visits” (D&S Times, October 13). Hambleton wants to spend £50,000 on a statue of some cute little Walt Disney deer in Bedale. What a waste of money!

And the present estimate for the badly needed Bedale relief road car park is £1,500,000! It can be done for less than half the price – in stages.

Let us start by spending the deer money on £50,000 worth of car park hardcore, and get the cars of the boot-sale crowds off our grass verges soonest.

Promoting and encouraging visitors? They are already here on boot sale days, but with nowhere to put their vehicles. Walt Disney won’t draw the crowds – or accommodate visitors’ cars. And we need another field so the boot sale can further develop

And talking hardcore, the next field could be hardcored, so the boot sale would not be constrained by the weather.

Bill Hare, Bedale