Sir, - You report (D&S, March 9) that North Yorkshire County Council's area committee for Hambleton voted in favour of traffic calming measures for Great Ayton.

Given the well-researched objections from our local councillors, June Imeson and John Fletcher, surely this is illogical and undemocratic. It appears that committee members gave more weight to the views of the highways department and the police than to local people and their representatives, perhaps on the assumption that these authorities knew what was best. I do not believe our experience would support such a view.

We are suffering a creeping urbanisation of our village through ill-conceived road schemes that are visually obtrusive but which have little or no effect on traffic.

Let me give two examples. There is a mini-roundabout, along with no less than 12 signs advertising its presence, at the bottom of Station Road. Yet many drivers completely ignore its presence and go straight over it. There are yellow "no parking" lines in the High Street prohibiting day-time parking alongside the River Leven. Yet there are usually cars parked right over them.

Now we are to have measures to reduce traffic speeds on the A173 entering from Guisborough. Some years ago the highways department widened this road and smoothed the bend at the junction with Newton Road. Is it surprising that traffic speeds have increased?

The bizarre policy of widening roads and straightening out bends, resulting in increased speeds and greater risk is best seen on the Bilsdale road. Here accidents and casualties have steadily increased as road "improvements" have been made. Even now, the last stretch of the old road, just before entering Helmsley, is being widened.

The hill down into Helmsley from here was straightened out some years ago, so that speeding traffic will now enjoy a clear run right into the heart of the market town. The solution will no doubt be to recreate the effect of the old narrow and twisting roads by introducing "traffic calming" measure at yet more cost. Is this highways department wisdom?

And what of the police? I do appreciate their severely limited resources, but there is little point introducing restrictions if they can be continually disregarded without penalty. For example, police regularly pass cars parked illegally in the village yet take no action.

Now you report the amazing statement from the police that traffic calming measures are the only way to reduce traffic speeds in Great Ayton. What about trying to enforce the existing 30mph limit?


Dikes Lane,

Great Ayton.

Parking is critical

Sir, - The Darlington & Stockton Times is running a campaign - Market Town Revival - for the regeneration of market towns. Imperative to the success of any such initiative is the co-operation of local councils, business and voluntary groups.

Unfortunately, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council seem not to understand that good and reasonably priced parking facilities to draw in shoppers are essential to the viability of a market town like Guisborough.

Not only that, the residents of the whole borough give a high priority in the community survey to car parking generally.

Both of these issues have been ignored in the doubling of long stay parking charges in Guisborough. Usage has more than halved, though the gross takings have risen slightly.

Best value regulations requiring a fair return on council assets is given as justification. This ignores the fact that community priorities have to take precedence.

The priority of the people of Guisborough is the regeneration of their market town.

Redcar and Cleveland council is driving people out of Guisborough (and indeed the borough) and rendering pointless the market town initiative.




The weakest link

Sir, - I note the saga of the uncleanliness of Thirsk market place continues (D&S, Mar 9).

It seems to me that the councillors who were elected by the people to represent the people, have "jumped ship and gone native" and now revel in "the land of milk and honey".

Meanwhile the highly-paid public servant employed by Hambleton District Council to get a grip of street cleansing, reposes in comfortable state in the overheated civic centre.

Castigate the councillors, sack the skivers, it's time to vote off the weakest link!


Brough Meadows,

Catterick Village.

Useless remedy?

Sir, - In Harry Mead's report about old treatments for foot-and-mouth (D&S, Mar 9) bryonia was referred to.

Bryonia dioica (white bryony) is a is a climbing plant, a member of the gourd family, which occurs throughout the British Isles and I think this is what was referred to.

Ure's Dictionary of Chemistry (1824) records brionia alba as a medicinal root from an unspecified plant "with cathartic powers, but is now seldom prescribed by physicians".

This sounds like the same material as mentioned in your article. It would be interesting to know what materials modern natural product chemistry has found in it: perhaps nothing very exciting considering that even as long ago as 1824 it was not often used in medicine.


Isles Cottages,

Low Row