MAJOR changes in the school system can come as no surprise to the people of Northallerton - it’s just the latest in the catalogue of public services which seem to be on the move, turned upside down or generally shaken up in the town.

They are currently juggling with the large scale demolition of the prison making way for an unknown redevelopment, the new police headquarters in the former home of the Rural Payments Agency and uncertainty over the fire station, all amid a constant nagging concern over the need for a relief road as well as the repetitive headache caused by the traffic-clogging railway crossings.

What is worrying parents about the school population being concentrated on the Grammar School Lane site is that nobody seems to have asked for their opinions. This seems to be a disconcerting theme in the current extensive transformation of the town - “much of it may well be welcome but it’s always nice to be asked.” While there has been some consultation, there has been a worrying lack of substance for people to chew over.

For the county town of North Yorkshire, with threads weaving back to the Romans and which has developed as an important centre for trade and transport since the market charter was granted 800 years ago, it seems a shame that more time, effort and - dare we say - money is not invested in discussion.

In the past fifty years the population of the town has doubled, but there still seems to be a hotch potch approach to development.

Whatever happens to the Allertonshire site, talking to other interested parties is vital, and maybe lessons can be learned that would stand the county town in good stead for the future.