ONCE again a letter is published which uses the dictionary definition of a pedestrian as a reason for banning bicycles from Darlington's Pedestrian Heart (HAS, Page 10, June 18).

Do the writers of these letters appreciate that their definition also excludes pushchairs, prams and wheelchair users?

Thank you, however, to Mrs P Dinsdale for a timely reminder to all cyclists that they are allowed to cycle within the area in which most motorised vehicles are excluded.

I myself cycled through the town centre on Saturday, although I was unable to wheelie as I was pulling my 18-month-old daughter in a trailer.

The new design makes it much safer for cyclists to use the area, as it has made the streets much wider, and I had no problems getting through the area.

I also cycle through the area twice a day when going to and from work, again with no problems. Do those who object to cyclists in the town centre realise that the majority of cyclists are responsible cyclists?

They are parents taking their children to school. They are teachers on their way to work. They are people going shopping.

Responsible cycling in Darlington town centre is safe, pleasant and fun. More people should try it. - Mike McTimoney, Darlington Cycling Campaign.


THE recent collapse of the sewer in Middleton St George (Echo, June 16) is a symptom of a planning system which rides roughshod over the infrastructure, environment and character of neighbourhoods. New housing developments are being crammed into existing communities through "garden grabbing" whereby residential gardens are being divided up, sold off and buried under concrete.

The origin of this lies in Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's decision to classify gardens as brownfield sites and therefore prioritise them for redevelopment.Villages and suburbs throughout the region are now seeing the effects of that change.

By coincidence, on the same day that the sewer collapsed, Conservative MP Caroline Spelman was campaigning in Parliament for a change in the law so that communities would get greater protection from unwanted garden development. Anyone in a neighbourhood with gardens big enough to attract developers should hope she is successful. - Simon Cawte, Hurworth Place, near Darlington.