Sir, - A few days ago we heard about the A6108 Reeth Road, Richmond, Traffic Calming Scheme and obtained copies of the proposals.

Amongst other things, these included a "no waiting at any time" restriction outside the West End Post Office/shop. This is alarming since this business is a valuable facility for the community, including the elderly residents at Richmond House.

The livelihood of this small shop is precarious and an important part of their income comes from people who either cannot walk to the premises or are going past in their cars to some other destination. If income from this source is lost, it will have to close.

Closure would be a serious matter, since a number of people who walk to the shop but, like ourselves, are unable to walk into town, would be forced to drive into Richmond every day to collect papers and other essentials, adding to congestion in the town.

We thought the present philosophy was to discourage people from using cars. What people who do not have a car would do is difficult to imagine. Furthermore, people who require a post office will be forced to go to the "main post office" in Finkle Street and add to the queues frequently seen outside this entirely inadequate office.

We urge the originators of this idea to think again since we cannot believe they appreciate the impact on the community.

Another part of the proposal is a pedestrian refuge outside the convent. As far as we can see, this consists of an island in the middle of the road with a "no waiting" area on either side.

At present cars are parked there by residents of the convent because, when the development was agreed, the planners unfortunately did not or could not insist on sufficient off-street parking.

This does not affect us personally, since we have only one car together with a garage and an extra parking space. In any case, why is it felt necessary to have a pedestrian refuge there since very few people cross at that point and there are good footpaths on either side of the road? Of course, once the post office is gone, there will be even less incentive to cross the road.

There are other proposals to slow traffic along Reeth Road that do not have the serious consequences of the closure of the post office and shop.


Reeth Road,


Double standards

Sir, - I was most interested to read Coun John Weighell's response (D&S, Feb 6)to Coun Mrs Caroline Seymour's letter (D&S, Jan 30)regarding the future of the county and district councils.

Coun Weighell accuses Coun Seymour of being content to abolish the council on which she was elected to serve, ie the county council. May I remind Coun Weighell that he is intent on abolishing the district councils, one of which, Hambleton, he was elected to serve on. Double standards I think ... one can't ride two horses.


Leven Court,

Great Ayton.

People's decision

Sir, - I refer to Coun. Weighell's letter (D&S, Jan 30). He has made the decision of the electorate, on a unitary authority for our area, a political issue. It is not political.

In October this year the electorate of North Yorkshire will have a choice on the size and shape of a unitary authority for the area.

If Yorkshire and Humberside votes for a regional assembly, then the current two-tier system of county and district councils in North Yorkshire will be replaced by a single, unitary authority.

I agree with David Bishop (D&S, Jan 30) that local government should be as close and relevant to the people as possible. There is no unitary authority in England that even approaches the size of North Yorkshire. The district councils will cease to exist if we have a unitary authority as they will be too small.

I suggest that Hambleton and Richmond are similar geographically, economically and culturally and that government based on this area would be local and relevant. We already have organisations such as the Hambleton and Richmondshire Primary Care Trust based on these boundaries.

Fortunately the people will decide and it will not be a political decision.




Cut council costs

Sir, - Council tax is rising at more than twice the level of inflation and in many authorities considerably more. Without wishing to be disingenuous, does this not suggest an urgent need to review the calibre of our elected representatives who are clearly failing to exercise control over expenditure.

Local government must move away from the well-honed expectation and belief that it is in order to simply take more money from residents when expenditure on additional projects is under consideration.

Realistic scrutiny and commercial review of existing expenditure must be a constant prerequisite of any demand for additional funds. Simple application of basic business principles would form a satisfactory starting point for limitation and control of the mushrooming and excessive bureaucratic cost that is paid for by unwilling local taxpayers.

Further and unjustified local tax increases will inevitably lead to serious and rebellious public response.

A matrix of cost-reduction programmes, productivity and cutting back on unessential, non-statutory services should be the goal behind all local government decisions.


Chairman, Jackson Taylor International Limited


Missing birds

Sir, - Question: Where were all the birds from the Nosterfield Nature Reserve two weekends ago?

Answer: They were either shot dead or terrorised on the Saturday morning during a half-hour wildfowl shoot organised at dawn by one of the trustees of the reserve.

Yet again, the trustees have seen fit to use the reserve for their own, private "sporting" pleasure. They prefer to call their sport, which takes place periodically on the nature reserve, a "cull"?.

The fact is that they spend their time - as well as generous funds donated in good faith by their supporting charities - attracting wildfowl to the reserve, only to exterminate the birds for pleasure as they fly in to the lakes at daybreak in order to feed.

Isn't it ironic that having woken every village around with the barrage of shotgun fire early on Saturday morning, not to mention having annihilated and traumatised the birds, the trustees are now planning to erect signs around the reserve, ordering visitors to "avoid making sudden movements" and to make "no noise".

They have to be joking! Or perhaps this is to lull the wildlife into a false sense of security so that they can bag more birds during their regular pleasure shoots?

Let's all hope that the dead swan seen on the nature reserve last weekend did not meet its fate during that morning's "sport".