SIX months ago, 18 residents were moved from Holmfield Nursing Home, Crook, into newly-built accommodation in South End Villas, Crook.

Holmfield is a fine Victorian villa in lovely grounds. Durham County Council then sold Holmfield for £68,000 (Echo, Jan 25). The new owner has now put it back on the market for £150,000.

A council spokesman said it had been sold "at the market price". How can this be? If a buyer could place it on the market for £150,000 weeks after its purchase, for an instant profit of £82,000, surely there is something wrong?

Was this property advertised by the council? Was a reserve price placed on it at auction?

These are important questions for the tax payers of Durham County and Wear Valley councils, now facing council tax rises of about 15 per cent. - Leslie Tyson, Crook, Co Durham.


STUART Hill's remarks about my intolerance (HAS, Feb 4) are correct. The vast majority of this country is sick and tired of the do-gooders, but simply chooses not to challenge them.

We must make the effort to show we are different from those who side with the terrorist, criminal, drug dealer, benefit fraudster, etc.

Ask the pensioner who is afraid to go out alone, the teenager afraid to carry a mobile phone. We have given ground to those who choose not to contribute to society in a normal fashion.

My intolerance for the Labour Party is only matched by the large hole in my bank balance since it came to office.

I am intolerant of a society which seems to disregard the good guy, but will wrap in cotton wool the bad guy.

The question remains, what's in store for my children?

Democracy and The Northern Echo allow us our varied opinions, but for how long? - Jim Tague, Bishop Auckland.

HUGH Pender (HAS, Feb 4) is talking through his hat. He misrepresents the argument, which is about a satanic Muslim extremist movement hell-bent on destroying Western civilisation and our right to defend ourselves.

For years, Muslim extremists have been using Britain as a base to plan and finance their terrorism, so the British Government has a case to answer.

Britain is a cesspit of those who would destroy our very existence. But we have an intelligentsia who believe in the "democratic right" of the individual to have the freedom to do whatever they fancy. This will destroy us. - John Young, Crook.

THERE never appears to be a shortage of lefty lawyers willing to offer their services free to defend murderers, terrorists and those, supposedly, who have suffered human right abuses.

This charity is sickeningly predictable in its choice of worthy causes. To qualify, there has to be a proven hatred of Britain, coupled with a contempt for human life.

The families of the 29 innocents butchered by the IRA at Omagh are collectively engaged in fundraising to allow full legal pursuit of the criminals, who so callously destroyed the lives of many in one act of cold-blooded terrorism. They have to raise £1m. I wish them well. Where are all of these defenders of human rights in this eminently worthy case? Nowhere to be seen. - Dave Pascoe, Hartlepool.


WE are given regular updates on the victims of September 11. We have heard stories of tremendous courage among victims and rescuers, and heartbreaking personal accounts of the anguish of bereaved relatives. This is as it should be, for we must never forget the horror of that dreadful day.

But there is another side to this tragedy. Many innocent Afghans, probably more than perished in the Twin Towers, were killed by American bombs. Will anyone bother to count them up, or keep a tally of the babies and children who die daily from starvation in remote areas and refugee camps in Afghanistan? Shall we hear the stories of bereaved Afghans?

Love, terror and grief know no nationality - an Afghan bereavement feels just the same as an American one. - P Winstanley, Chester-le-Street.


I WAS pleased to read (Echo, Feb 8) that Skeeby in North Yorkshire is about to have traffic calming measures introduced.

As a corridor in and out of Richmond and the Dales, it is a must. I live in Gilling West, which is also a corridor in and out of Richmond and the Dales, and also the A66, and I would like to see the same measures taken here.

The speed of some vehicles through Gilling is disgraceful. I go to work at 5.30am, and even at this early hour, cars and vans are speeding through, full beam on their headlights and well in excess of the 30mph speed limit.

I am pleased for Skeeby; I just hope that something can be done to end the speeding problem in Gilling West too. - M Brown, Gilling West.


IF MJ Latter (HAS, Feb 6) is correct in his assertion that the other examination boards are of the same standard as Edexcel, then the position is truly alarming. Publicity has highlighted a catalogue of errors and mistakes that surely must worry anybody who is concerned about our children's education.

I have spoken to many people about this, including several who have been in senior positions on examination boards, and the vast majority considers that the system has deteriorated significantly over the last few years.

I have also had teachers speak to me who have moved their examinations from Edexcel to the other boards. But should the Quality and Curriculum Authority withdraw Edexcel's licence, it is difficult to see how the other boards would cope with the additional workload.

The media has done a first class job in exposing the problem and I, for one, am pleased that the Secretary of State for Education has been swift in her actions to tackle the situation. - CF Owen, Darlington.