Sir, - I refer to two recent reports about residential building in Great Ayton. The first (D&S, Nov 9) was about the council's "compromise" over planning permission on the Reed's garage site, for a two-storey rather than three-storey block of flats.

The second report (D&S, Nov 16), concerned a survey of village land which could be used for building, in Great Ayton's California Court, the former Edward Kitching school and haulage yard where planning permission for 38 homes has already been granted. Other plots identified were the slaughterhouse field behind Linden Avenue, a plot between Easby Lane and St Margaret's church and one behind Angrove Close.

Why is there a need to identify new building plots? The survey has also identified that the population of Great Ayton and other villages is over the desired population threshold level. Why has planning permission been granted for more flats on Reed's garage? I am sure they won't be the last. We will soon see the Edward Kitching school and the haulage yard "developed".

Someone must speak out on this subject. We are constantly being reassured there will be no more residential building in Great Ayton. Yet land continues to be designated for new homes.

How many new flats and houses have been built within the last few years? Have village services developed to accommodate the increasing population?

As residents of this expanding village, we must ask ourselves if this is what we want to see.

Our health centre is already over-stretched, appointment waiting times are ever increasing. Car parking availability, policing and services in general cannot cope. Is this what we want? Is this the right direction for Great Ayton?

As soon as there is a vacant piece of land, it is snapped up by builders. We are risking losing the wonderful community spirit that we are so lucky to have in Great Ayton.

We live in a democratic society and we all have a vote. I feel that our council should be listening to its constituents. Am I alone in these views?

If I am not, I wonder if letters to our local MP opposing further housing developments in our village would make the council consider listening and respond to the majority. After all, we must ask ourselves who actually gains as a result of this continual granting of residential planning permission in Great Ayton.


Great Ayton.

A1 nostalgia

Sir, - It was interesting to read in Spectator's Notes (D&S, Nov 16)about the A1 as my wife and I were licenseesof the Black Bull Topcliffe, from 1951 to 2001. It would be interesting to know who it was in our kitchen at the time. We have just retired in January 2001 after 50 years there to Mayfield, Stillington Road, Crayke.. We had a great life and made a lot of friends over the years.

When we had been married 50 years were invited to the Queen's golden wedding anniversary garden party on the July 15, 1997; it was a wonderful day.

Both my wife and I have enjoyed reading your column it is very interesting.


Stillington Road,