THORNBOROUGH HENGES: IT IS important to clarify an aspect of your report regarding Tarmac's application to quarry within the Thornborough Henges ancient monument complex (Echo, Sept 19).

The complex includes around 30 major monuments of which the henges are just three. They are not even the largest - that is the mile-long Thornborough Cursus.

Tarmac's quarry at Nosterfield and the proposed new quarry at Ladybridge within the complex will cause the loss of nationally important archaeology, as has been confirmed by English Heritage.

The county council planners agree with English Heritage and were about to reject the quarry application on that basis, which is why Tarmac moved for deferment.

The only question that will be answered by Tarmac's additional investigations will be if this nationally important archaeology covers the entire site, in which case the application will be refused.

The suggestion that this complex only involves three henges is a piece of flam created by Tarmac to make people think that the campaign to save the Thornborough henges is being unreasonable in objecting to Ladybridge. The henges will not be damaged by this quarry. The ancient monument complex is being damaged by the current quarry and will be damaged if Ladybridge goes ahead. - George Chaplin, Chairman,, Newton le Willows, North Yorkshire.


I AGREE with Vince Lee (HAS, Sept 21) about the disbandment of the Darlington anti-yob unit. Obviously the people who work in this unit are good at their job, so in true British fashion we sack them!

The problem is a shortage of youth clubs, but who is going to volunteer with all the pitfalls of today? My husband ran a youth club for 20 years until 1986. He encouraged the local police to "drop in" and this worked a treat, although there were a few sore ankles on both sides after a five-a-side match.

He had a set of rules that had to be obeyed or there would be consequences, such as a slap on the rear for male and female, or held by the ear and marched into the office for a ticking off. For a serious offence, they would be thrown out and banned for a month (they then sat on the wall outside pleading to be let back in).

Today, he would be spending a lengthy stretch in jail for grievous bodily harm and be put on the paedophile list. These kids are now grannies and grandads in our community and always talk about the good old times at "the Youthie" when we meet. - I Littlejohns, Tow Law.


I REMEMBER Mark Stacey, the 11-year-old schoolboy who fell over High Force in 1987 and survived (Echo, Sept 21). I was about ten at the time and was in Darlington Memorial hospital with a fractured skull. He was in the bed next to me and I remember pointing out his father to my mam, saying that he had blood all over him (as you do when you are small). My mam remembers that he was allowed to go home the next day. She believes that they were from Lincoln and that the hospital ward was locked to prevent journalists from entering. - Ann Longstaff, Darlington.


CHRISTOPHER Wardell (HAS, Sept 20) bemoans the cost of bus travel for pensioners in Darlington.

Darlington Borough Council has consistently supported pensioners' travel by subsidising the local bus companies' pre-paid pass. This year that help is likely to cost around £730,000. Without the council's financial support, this pass would not have been available.

I am delighted to tell him, however, that as a result of Labour's re-election last May, free, off-peak bus travel for people over 60 and disabled people across England is going to be introduced. This will benefit around 11 million pensioners and two million disabled people. The scheme will come into force in April 2006. - Coun Nick Wallis, Cabinet Member, Highways and Transport, Darlington Borough Council.


THERE have been quite a few articles in The Northern Echo regarding police vehicles parking in disabled bays.

Here, however, is a new one, which makes me wonder why my wife and I pay our police precept.

On our way to Barnard Castle at 11.10am on Wednesday we joined a line of traffic travelling about three or four miles per hour. Up at the front of the queue we could see a vehicle with flashing red and blue lights. Traffic eventually wended its way past and the vehicle with the flashing lights was a Durham Police patrol car. At first I thought it was dealing with an accident, but not so. In front of the police car was a council employee measuring the road with a one-wheeled machine.

Assuming that the patrol car would cost at least £15,000 and that the officer would probably be on a salary of £25,000, this does seem to be an absolute waste of police resources. - Russell Elliott, Escomb.


THERE are three reasons why attendances are down at football games (Echo, Sept 16).

1. Cost of tickets is far too high. For me and my son to go to Middlesbrough's Riverside is, on average, £30-£35 per game. Include drinks, burger, travel and it's a £50 trip. I can play golf with my son for £5 on a Saturday at the local golf club;

2. Matches are dull, teams play negative football with one striker up front. You also have people like Wayne Rooney, who think they are bigger than the club and couldn't care less about the fans. Such players earn too much money and their wages should be capped.

3.TV. Why pay £20 for a ticket when you can see it on TV for a fraction of the cost?

It's time football looked at itself and started to offer half price for kids and no more than £15 for adults. If things don't change then you will be seeing fewer than 20,000 fans at the Riverside.

Why doesn't chief executive Keith Lamb offer £5 for kids and £10 for adults to the next Carling Cup match, and show some loyalty to the fans? - Name supplied, Acklam, Middlesbrough.


I AGREE with JR Brant (HAS, Sept 21). I have participated in 15 runs but did not enter this year for a number of reasons. Last year the entry fee was £27, this year £34, but to guarantee an entry was another £10.

Mr Brant is correct. Far too many people do not do sufficient training to complete the 13.1 miles. I have talked to "runners" on the start line who have only done four miles in training, and I have passed people walking after only one mile.

I believe that 50,000 entrants is far too high, which results in overcrowding. I now prefer to enter local races where there is plenty of space and the money is going to a local charity. - Thomas Ramsey, Ferryhill.


ST James's Hall was the very first Romanby village school building and, as such, is an important part of village history. Along with the clock tower and St James's Church, it stood as a central reminder of old Romanby. Such a building should have been preserved, but instead it was sold and has now been demolished. With its passing goes much of the long standing character of the village. It seems that, once again, money has been given priority over our heritage. This is a very sad moment in the life of Romanby village. - Paul Stewart, Romanby, Northallerton.