Appalling choice

I AGREE, entirely, with Tony Eaton's comments regarding the naming of Northallerton's new commercial development (D&S Times, April 20).

“The Treadmills” is an appalling choice, and the fact that this decision has been taken without consultation is a poor reflection on the district council, who, I fear, are showing signs of selling out to the developer.

If the artist impression of the development, (also featured in your pages), is anything to go by then we can look forward to nothing more exciting than a stereotypical supermarket. And in a town the size of Northallerton that already has Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Wilko, B&M, an M&S food hall and two Co-op convenience stores, do we really need another one of those? And more especially at a time when the High Street has more empty units than I can remember in thirty years.

Some while ago, I recall attending a public consultation where Hambleton District Council presented a concept plan on which they invited public opinion.

It seemed very ordinary to me, and I came away sensing they did not have the necessary in house expertise or ambition to deliver a flag ship development.

Nothing has happened to change my mind.

John Elm, Northallerton

Too flattering

THANK you very much for your very kind words and picture which featured my part in setting up the Wednesday Welcome Centre in Masham (D&S Times, April 13).

Unfortunately, I was most embarrassed by the use of one word: I most certainly did not achieve this "single-handedly".

Before doing anything else I sought the support of my colleagues in the HOPE Community Support team, then worked with Jill Quinn of Dementia Forward of Ripon to develop the concept, and finally recruited a team of brilliant volunteers, without whom the whole plan could not have come to fruition.

We will shortly be celebrating our first birthday and are very proud of what we have achieved.

I would like to thank the volunteers and all those who have contributed in any way - not least Masham Methodist Church for providing us with a home; the word "single-handed", though flattering, was definitely not merited.

Joy Rayden, Wednesday Welcome Centre

Brexit cost

GLOBAL Future has carried out research into the four Brexit scenarios devised by the Government.

They have found that Theresa May’s preferred option of a bespoke deal would leave the UK £615m a week worse off – so much for the £350m a week to spend on the NHS.

The best option- a Norway style agreement – would still cost £262m a week – more than we are actually paying now but with less say in what changes are made. Crashing out with no deal would cost £1.26bn a week and would equate to 44 per cent of the NHS budget.

The Liberal Democrats think that the people should have a say on the deal – after all it is us who are going to have to pay for this. This is not a second referendum but our first opportunity to say what we think of what our Government has negotiated.

Philip Knowles, Chair, Richmondshire Lib-Dems

Brexit rage

THERE seems to be a lot of synthetic rage being whipped up over the fact that many retired senior civil servants who have been elevated to the House of Lords are voting in favour of amendments to the Brexit Bill to maintain our organic relationships with the Customs Union and the Single Market.

Is this a demonstration of the truth of the adage: “The Gentleman in Whitehall knows best”?

David Walsh, Skelton, east Cleveland.

More hols

I AM not a fan of Jeremy Corbyn but I do support his policy to introduce national Bank Holidays on St George’s, St David’s , St Andrew’s and St Patrick’s Days.

When I visit France, they’re always downing tools and closing schools on saints’ days, and they seem far less stressed out than we British.

Since devolution, the constituent parts of the UK have, increasingly, been keen to demonstrate their national identities. Special holidays would allow all nationalities to express themselves and, shared by everybody, help hold the UK together.

At present, our workforce has fewer holidays than almost any other developed nation, even though it has been known for well over half a century that, paradoxically, more holidays increase productivity.

It’s a no brainer. More holidays will make us both happier and richer.

Cllr Steve Kay, Moorsholm

English tax

IS there no end to the ordeal being suffered by the English over the cost of NHS prescriptions?

I have just returned from the pharmacy where there were two items on my prescription. I was obliged to pay the recently increased charge of £8.80 for each item, £17.60 in total.

It is infuriating, besides being massively unfair, that in the UK it is only in England that charges are imposed, inhabitants of Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland paying not a single penny to have their medicines dispensed via NHS prescription.

I fail to understand why this has not produced a huge public outcry in England over the shocking inequality.

It would not be in the least surprising if there were to be a political agenda behind this.

I would suggest that letters be sent to each MP without delay, demanding that charges in England be abandoned immediately, but if this measure cannot be afforded, then least the national cost of prescriptions must be divided equally between each country that makes up the UK not allowing England to, in effect, subsidise the rest.

Bobby Meynell, Stockton

Farm help

MANY farmers are currently facing fodder shortages and flooding, serious problems that impact on their ability to feed animals and plant crops.

In some regions, persistent and heavy rains have followed on swiftly from extreme snowfalls – and to make matters worse, the current weather-related problems come whilst many are in the midst of lambing and calving.

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution has been around since 1860 and is farming’s oldest and largest welfare charity. In 2017, we gave out grants of close to £2m to people of all ages in financial need.

We have welfare officers across England and Wales who understand the current difficulties. Our welfare officer for Northumberland and Durham, for example, recently reported that many people in his area had lost sheep in snow drifts and were dreading the prospect of lambing.

Numbers are likely to be down, which will have a knock-on effect later in the year when they come to sell their stock. It’s been a long, wet winter and the grass hasn’t started to grow yet. That means there could be extra feed costs, an expense farmers wouldn’t normally expect to have at this time of year.

We know from our welfare team on the ground that many in the industry – from different sectors and in various parts of the UK – are anxious about the effects of weather-related problems.

During a crisis, R.A.B.I can help those in financial hardship by providing grants for immediate domestic and household expenses. While we cannot help specifically with business costs, if the harsh winter has left you, or someone you know who works in farming, unable to pay household bills please call our confidential Freephone Helpline number 0808 281 9490.

Paul Burrows, RABI

Royal party

THIS spring we hope your readers will celebrate the Royal Wedding with their very own Right Royal Tea Party in aid of Meningitis Now.

Putting on a spread fit for a royal wedding is a piece of cake with our free fundraising pack and as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have requested charity donations rather than wedding presents, their loyal subjects can fulfil their wishes whilst helping families affected by this devastating disease.

A Royal-themed Time4Tea can be held anytime, not just on May 19, the date of the Royal Wedding. And it can take place anywhere – at home, at work, at school. Just pop the kettle on, slice up a cake or two, homemade or bought (you have to have cake at a wedding) and invite friends, relatives and colleagues to enjoy a cuppa or perhaps even a glass of champagne.

The serious point is that If you do you’ll be helping to fight meningitis and move us one step closer to our vision of a future where no one in the UK dies from meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need to rebuild their life.

Sadly, despite developments in vaccines, meningitis and septicaemia continue to affect thousands every year and kill more under-5s than any other infectious disease. Help us fight back on all fronts by funding research to eradicate the disease, raising awareness and supporting survivors. That would be the perfect wedding present.

Find out more at and search for Time 4 Tea.

Elaine Close, Meningitis Now

Tidy thanks

IT’S great to see more council street workers out and about trying to keep our little town of Darlington tidy, which will be an ongoing requirement due to a few irresponsible people who don’t care less what state our town is kept.

I walk through the South Park most mornings and it’s great to see park wardens trying to keep our park free of rubbish but again it’s the few irresponsible parents with young children who again don’t care less how the park is kept.

Most of the litter is sweet papers and pop bottles/cans – there are plenty of bins about.

But these people I would assume would soon complain if the wardens were not there to pick their rubbish up.

Just to say many thanks to everyone who is trying to keep our town/parks tidy.

Stan Wilby, Darlington

Tyke talking

RE Jonathan Smith’s Weekend Walk (D&S Times, April 13), he mentioned “Chop Gate (or Chop Yat, if you believe the locals)”.

He must not be a Yorkshire man if he doesn’t know that Yat means Gate in our Yorkshire tongue.

Jean Wallis, Leyburn