Blind bridge

AS part of the up-grading of the A1 at Catterick we at last have the bridge installed over the A1 at Catterick Bridge.

Unfortunately, the powers-that-be have decided to change the priority at the Bridge Hotel junction.

It is now a junction awaiting the display of “Accident Blackspot” signs because a dangerous situation has been created when coming from Catterick Village. The visibility to the right at the new Give Way sign is practically non-existent.

I can only assume that the designer of the new layout is not a motorist.

The old A1 round the Bridge Hotel has had priority for the past 60-plus years to my personal knowledge, and I am sure much longer.

A solution is required in the very near future, or do we have to wait for a serious accident to happen first?

Peter Hale, Scorton

No transparency?

YOUR report about the Police and Crime Commissioner’s criticisms of lack of transparency in pay settlements granted by the former North Yorkshire Police Authority (D&S Times, Nov 24) was hilarious.

I would not seek to defend the allowance packages for senior police officers introduced comparatively recently with what she describes as “no scant reason” and “no transparency whatsoever” but I would question her assertion that she inherited a mess from the old police authority. The truth is that we are in a mess now.

The PCC may have published senior police salaries and may be promising publication of fire service salaries, if the authorities are foolish enough to give her the job, but she herself is hardly transparent.

We have yet to be told how much she wasted on her ridiculous intention to site the police HQ at South Kilvington. We do not know for how much she sold Newby Wiske Hall or how much she paid for Alverton Court, the new HQ with insufficient room for staff and inadequate parking. No transparency here.

Even when we are told how much she spent on her recent exercise allegedly surveying public opinion about her attempt to take over the fire service – it is said to have been £140,000 – it was not transparent.

What was the question? How were those who asked the question selected? How were those questioned selected? How big was the sample? No transparency here either.

At university I was told how to conduct statistical surveys and her exercise seems to have been a blatant example of how not to conduct such a survey. The outcome was not worth the paper it was written on yet she is relying on it in her bid to the Home Office contrary to the true wishes of residents in the county.

When it comes to transparency the PCC has a lot to learn. The kettle should not call the pot black.

Dr David Severs, Northallerton

Trust’s aims

I HAVE have followed with interest the publicity surrounding the 10th anniversary of the re-opening of Richmond Station as a venue for film, food and the arts. I would like to take this opportunity to thank North of England newspapers and in particular the Darlington & Stockton Times for all the help they have given to this project, both over the last ten years and before.

It is also a good time to thank all those people who have helped make the re-opening possible. The list is too long to fit into this letter. They include all the Trustees of Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust, past and present, the volunteers, the members of the Trust, our Patrons, donors, tenants, the general manager and her staff.

I also would like to thank all the customers who have and continue to support this venue and hope it continues to provide an exciting destination for locals and visitors alike.

Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust was set up to find an attractive new use for the old Richmond Station, but it has a wider mandate. The objectives are to preserve the historical, architectural and constructional heritage that may exist in and around Richmondshire. It also promotes education and the arts where this complements the preservation of the heritage.

To this aim the Trust is working hard to bring the Old Grammar School building, formerly part of Richmond School, back to life and will be seeking help and funds for this over the coming months.

I am mindful that currently the trust is Richmond-based, but the trustees are looking at some longer term ideas for projects large and small in the wider Richmondshire district.

Ian Hepworth, Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust

Enough damage

THE language of hatred and prejudice of your Brexit correspondents (D&S Times Nov 17) gives the game away.

"Arch-traitor", "jackboot on the throat", "dictators", "crops rotting in the field", "screaming" - what world are these readers living in? What has made them so hysterically angry about the EU?

I have yet to meet a Leave voter who can point to a single specific harm they or their families have suffered from the EU. Have their neighbours been carted off in the night? Has Rishi Sunak been replaced by a European commissar? Did the EU cause the financial crash? Lead Britain into the Iraq war? Impose the bedroom tax? Ban fox-hunting? Take 18 months extra to upgrade the A1?

The worst they can say is that the (democratically elected) politicians and bureaucrats in Brussels are not perfect, but in view of recent events we can hardly claim those at Westminster are very much better.

Apparently they are all very angry about constitutional philosophy! Of course really it is the puppet-masters behind the Leave campaign who see the EU as an obstacle to the rip-off capitalism they want to impose on the UK, that are pushing the buttons of the bonkers Brexiteers. This ugly and ignorant nationalism has already done more than enough damage to this country - it should have no place in our politics.

R Hildyard, Colburn

“Leave now”

THE debate regarding Brexit has fallen victim to hysterical rants by those who want to remain in the crumbling, corrupt EU. Andrew Newens “we are not at war” and his objection to me calling politicians corrupt and out of touch with the people (D&S Times, Nov 24) are a sample.

In this respect I suspect Andrew Newens is suffering a bout of amnesia. Can he not recall the MPs expense scandal when MPs of all parties were effectively stealing money from the tax payer, the epitome of arrogance?

Furthermore, when engaging in a debate and 'playing' with words I advise Andrew Newens to keep a copy of the English Oxford Dictionary by his side, eg referendum - 'the process of referring a political question to the electorate for a direct decision by a general vote'. It doesn't get any more democratic than that. Also proletariat - basically those who sell, or have sold their labour (pensioners). For obvious reasons it does not include children but includes every other member of the electorate.

When comparing the industrial landscape of the North-East pre-1973 and the EU to that of today it is very sobering. Pre-1973 the North-East had a large coal and coke industry, shipbuilding, steel manufacture, railway engineering works, chemical plants, engineering fabrication works, and electrical generation equipment manufacture.

Some of these industries would have met their demise due to world economic/political events but some, if it were not for the EU, would be operating today. What have they been replaced with? Call centres.

What has the EU done for the North-East? Given us a trickle of training grants, built a couple of bridges and minor payments for some start up initiatives. Nothing near what the North-East needs.

The North-East of England has the lowest GDP within England which, when considering our industrial past, is a disgrace. In the eyes of the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund the North-East is a poor relation compared to Eastern European countries, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Italy et al.

Regarding our exit Britain we will never get an agreed exit deal from 27 EU countries all with different agendas. We will resolve one issue then Barnier and Juncker will invent another. Therefore, May can and should take the initiative and tell the EU gangsters we are leaving now, end of.

We will trade with the EU just the same as the whole of America, Asia, Russia, China, India, Australasia, Africa, the Gulf states. Easy as that.

Trevor Nicholson, Leeming

Blind faith?

HYPOCRISY is nothing unless it is carried out correctly and Dr Andrew Newens is obviously a past master at it. I wonder had the Remoaners won with the same majority as the Brexiters would Dr Newens have accepted his own misguided theory, coming from the Brexiters. I don't think so.

An honest answer please Dr Newens if you will, or are you so far left you feel you don't need to reply? J Smith's letter of Nov 24 pretty much puts it in a nutshell, emphasised by Trevor Nicholson's letter of November 17 and Denis McAllister's of November 24.

Dr Newens attitude reminds me of an old Chinese proverb - “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

Trevor Mason, Swainby

Under siege

ALLEGATIONS concerning bribery being made against a public authority or one of its officers (D&S Times, Nov 24) must, in the interest of justice and - above all - transparency, be investigated by another independent authority to lend any credence whatsoever to the results of its findings.

In the coming months and years, the Yorkshire National Parks, as indeed all Areas of Natural Beauty shall be under siege as promises to protect them are eroded.

So it is vital that they all planning departments are seen to be transparent and honest in all planning applications and local objections.

Already 140 Yorkshire Heritage sites have been given licenses to frack, including the North York Moors, Howardian Hills, Riveaulx Woods, Duncombe Park, Flamborough Head etc.

Good for the UK economy? Gas will be sold to highest bidder by the commercial fracking company, usually Norway, and according to EU regulations. the UK Government will have no say in the matter.

A Westminster MP recently described the people of Kirby Misperton as being Nimbies. Well, they are in very good company. Fracking is banned in France, Germany, Italy and banned in the rest of Europe. Wales, Scotland and Ireland have also joined the list.

So why is England and, in particular, Yorkshire and the Lake District, to be "massacred?”

Perhaps Yorkshire should have its own Parliament - it has a greater GDP and larger population than Scotland, and 11 countries in the EU.

Maureen Johnstone, Thirsk

Action please

IT is all well and good Barry Coppinger blaming government austerity for the lack of neighbourhood policing (D&S Times, Nov 24), but we are looking for action, not excuses. Barry and his Chief Constable must re-examine their priorities and allocate more scarce resources to local policing.

Whatever happened to “zero tolerance,” the purpose of which is to nip low-level crime in the bud, at neighbourhood level, to prevent the perpetrators moving on to more serious offences?

At our council meeting on Nov 23, there was a motion of no confidence in the leadership of Cleveland Police. It was defeated by 31 votes to 12. Some blamed the leadership and some blamed the government, but everybody agreed that the level of local policing is not what it should be, especially in East Cleveland.

Barry can take no comfort from what appears, at first sight, to be a council-chamber victory.

Neighbourhood policing is now firmly on the agenda and, if things don’t improve quickly, the next vote is poised to overwhelm him.

Cllr Steve Kay, Moorsholm

Shop praise

WHAT a terrific business the Co-op is! Since the 1840s Co-op business has been inseparable from helping local communities and giving its profits to its members, not making a profit for a few shareholders.

In Stokesley, its recent initiative of donating one per cent of members' spend to local causes has benefited Stokesley Community Care, Steppingstones Playgroup and Stokesley Rotary to fund help for elderly lunches, play for two-year-olds and support young carers.

By using their blue membership cards, local members raised over £16,000 in the last nine months, part of the £20m that has been raised nationally in the last 15 months to help a huge range of local causes.

I am proud to be one of the 5.5m members doing shopping in such a generous way.

Eileen Driver, Stokesley

Pretty annoyed

I NOTE from your restaurant review of Santorini, Darlington (D&S Times, Nov 24) that your critic was served by a waitress described as “small, dark, pretty ...”

I am startled that there is any place in your newspaper for descriptions such as these. Would Mr Warne have described a male waiter as being “tall, dark, good-looking”, for instance? I think not.

Please stick to reviewing the restaurant and the food, not indulging in casual sexism such as this.

Chris Lancaster, Appleton Wiske