Police funding: Back in March, I wrote to the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Zoe Metcalfe, to register my displeasure at yet another increase in the PCC precept on Council Tax.

Fundamentally, that visible policing in Stokesley is non-existent.

It's obviously non-existent in Kirby Sigston too!

If North Yorkshire Police can't provide adequate protection and security for the Prime Minister, what chance providing adequate protection and security to the wider population?

I don't suppose Ms Metcalfe, nor the Chief Constable, will resign though – as they should.

Neil Harrison, Stokesley.

Tourist spot

WHILST not wishing to condone the unauthorised alteration to Sigston Manor, a listed building, I can't help thinking that someone has missed a trick here.

In 1995, the artist Christo wrapped the Berlin Reichstag in plastic sheeting, an artistic intervention that attracted five million visitors. Five million!

Just think what this might do for local tourism receipts, putting Kirby Sigston on the international art circuit!.

Mr Sunak could levy a modest entry fee, thus paring down the national debt (as he doesn't need the money), but as I don't think the antics of the protesters will attract the approval of the planners, it is highly unlikely that Kirby Sigston will become an international art venue.

Tony Robinson, Romanby, Northallerton.

Quality of life

I WRITE to address Trevor Mason’s worries about “Fuel station future” (D&S Times letters, Aug 4).

Trevor raises issues (see below) for which “lessons have been learned” already and as such he can put his mind at rest.

Certainly big changes are required and while they require some initial short term costs and changes in habits in the longer term, these changes will dramatically improve our quality of life, health and finances.

Fossil fuels are responsible for large emissions of carbon dioxide, poisonous chemicals and dangerous particulates, which drive climate change and air pollution, both of which endanger our survival.

Trevor’s comments on battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are unfortunately ill-informed.

BEVs can be more expensive to purchase but BEVs are still cheaper to run than petrol/diesel vehicles, range in winter is not abysmal but it is decreased for example for a VW ID3 from 220 to 180 miles, servicing is minimal as there is no internal combustion engine, charging at a fast charger takes 20 minutes or overnight at home, there is an active second hand market as battery deterioration is far less than originally feared.

When the battery is no longer suitable for vehicle use, it is reused for home energy storage and so often the BEV will have a scrap value exceeding a petrol/diesel vehicle.

UK statistics show that related to the number of vehicles on the road, BEVs suffer fewer fires than petrol/diesel vehicles and while batteries can explode, petrol is far more explosive.

The need to stop using fossil fuels apart from where they provide unique benefits for chemicals and some industrial processes, will require a change in our industrial infrastructure with refineries closing.

This is no different to the change from coal gas to natural gas, where hundreds of local gas works were decommissioned across the UK.

The decommissioning of fuel stations has been happening for decades across the UK mainly driven by the profits that can be made from building houses, with for example old petrol station sites in Stokesley and Yarm are now part of housing developments.

Perhaps Trevor should “stand with bowed head” and accept that changes are afoot which will result in dramatic improvements in quality of life.

Even if he were to argue that the UK is a small contributor to global climate change and so we don’t have to do anything about it, the same cannot be said of the horrendous pollution caused by petrol/diesel cars which BEVs eliminate a large part of.

So Trevor please stand tall and become part of this transition which will improve our, our children's and future generations' quality of life.

Simon Gibbon, Swainby.

Dangerous plan

POLLUTION in big cities is a real problem but it may not seem to be so to residents of smaller places like Darlington or rural locations like Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's constituency in Richmond.

I'm afraid that the Conservative Party's promise to help people use their cars is another gimmick but it will be extremely damaging.

This is really another kind of climate change denial, maybe the Conservatives need to talk to the British holidaymakers who escaped from the island of Rhodes before supporting this incredibly dangerous plan?

Sasha Jones, Darlington.

Point scoring

IF Daniel Callaghan wishes to be taken seriously as a prospective parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats in Richmond, he really needs to get his facts right.

His letter “Friary Hospital” (D&S Times Letters, July 28) about our MP's alleged lack of involvement in the Friary Hospital, Richmond, is simply wrong.

Perhaps he wasn't around the local area when it was widely reported earlier this year (in this newspaper and elsewhere) that Rishi Sunak had received assurances from local and national NHS management about the future of the Victoria Ward when concerns were raised about the length of time repairs were taking.

Let's put Mr Callaghan's error down to youthful exuberance and lack of local knowledge rather than political opportunism and cynicism.

Leaving petty attempts at political point-scoring aside, let's just celebrate the fact that the length of time the works took provided a welcome opportunity to carry out a superb refurbishment of the ward for the future benefit of many Richmond and Richmondshire people.

Moira Metcalfe, Richmond.

Business closures

ENJOYING a brief respite at the excellent Central Coffee House, Northallerton, on August 4, a sudden depression marred the experience upon reading page nine of your edition of that date.

Paul Harrison’s letter “A dark week” (D&S Times letters, Aug 4) had a head start on me.

Lacking any significant industrial or commercial centres North Yorkshire small businesses are suffering financially, highlighted by the closure of the long established businesses referred to.

Rural communities are being marginalised and “special help”, so readily given in areas considered to constitute a “power house”, is urgently needed.

Perhaps some equivalent of the "freeport", for towns, could be devised to help keep rural communities alive.

To rub salt into the wound the Richmond locality is to have its business throat cut as the result of its own planning authorities' approval of the ill-conceived, out of town retail outlet at Scotch Corner. At the eastern end of the A66 Pennine crossing the disruptive presence of the said outlet will add to road communication difficulties, particularly if the long promised dualling of the entire Scotch Corner/Penrith A66 does not go ahead.

The Northern Policy Foundation (think (?) tank) seem to consider that to proceed would represent poor value for tax payers money.

What arrogance when considering the billions which have been wasted upon the black hole which is HS2, which would not have, and seemingly will not in any event, bring any benefit to the real north.

Wake up Rishi Sunak, your constituency is dying.

Tony Salmon, Faceby.

Key policies

IN his letter “A dark week” in last week’s paper Paul Harrison (chair, Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association) invited political parties to each put forward their strategy for supporting small businesses in rural communities like ours.

As the Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate for Richmond (Yorks), I want to outline three key policies that I will champion if I’m elected as the next MP.

It's not just in Richmond where businesses are struggling to make ends meet.

Small businesses around the country are under pressure and especially those based in market towns, where they are the lifeblood of our rural economy.

So my first action would be to encourage the creation of a market town development initiative to support places like Richmond, Leyburn, Stokesley, Northallerton and Hawes in linking up with other market towns around the country and help them develop best practice strategies.

As well as encouraging independent start-ups, this should include the roll out of community "shop local" campaigns which encourage people think carefully about where they spend their money.

Secondly, I’m backing the Federation of Small Businesses in their call for small firms to be allowed to renegotiate their fixed term energy bills put in place since 2022, so they can benefit from the subsequent fall in prices with immediate effect.

Finally, to breathe life into our high streets, local councils should be given more powers to intervene when commercial properties owned by private landlords are left empty for long spells or fall into disrepair.

When Rishi Sunak was asked about local closures on the radio last week, he claimed that business was booming. Many here would beg to differ.

Unlike Mr Sunak’s Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats are on the side of rural small businesses here and across the country.

Daniel Callaghan, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Middleton Tyas.

Water infrastructure

THERE’S been big issues on the news lately regarding raw sewage entering our rivers and seas. Darlington sewage treatment works was built in 1939 with one I believe major improvement in 2010.

However, house building in the UK has doubled in the last ten years by approximately two million new homes being built.

Darlington has added considerable amount to this number.

Can our chief executive Ian Williams confirm that our sewage treatment works can cope with the extra thousands of houses being built in Darlington and not polluting our rivers?

After all, it's Northumbrian Water who get millions of extra pounds in water rates from these new builds who should be investing some of the vast profits in ensuring the sewage treatment plants can cope with the massive increase in raw sewage.

Stan Wilby, Darlington.

Poetry reminder

I READ your article “Friends of the Friarage recruiting for trustees” (D&S Times, Aug 4).

I was a domestic at the Friarage for about 15 years and it reminded me that I’d written a poem about it in 1995.

Hospital, Domestic and Staff

I work at the Friarage Hospital.

Where most things are possible.

To the public we often appeal.

Towards machinery the hospital needs.

The town folk always support us.

Parents even sons and daughters.

Money donated built a house where you can stay.

Next door the Chapel if you would like to pray.

The kitchen staff make lovely meals.

From beans on toast, to jellied eels.

Roast ham with a sachet of mustard.

Sponge pudding with thick hot custard.

X-ray staff can see right through you.

Their job is to take a picture or two.

Then the porter wheels you away.

To a ward where you might have to stay.

Theatre can be very nerve racking.

Doctors and nurses are never lacking.

In what they call Tender Loving Care.

They really look after you while in there.

Before you go home you need a letter.

So your GP knows you are getting better.

The pool of typists do the typing.

A lot quicker than long hand writing.

The physio ladies are all gems.

But you don’t always need them.

The hospital is always clean and smart.

For this the domestics play their part.

To make all this work takes a good team.

I am sure the staff know what I mean.

Our little town is quite wealthy.

But first and foremost you go home healthy.

Margaret Sanders, Romanby, Northallerton.