THE amended plans for the old railway line between Scarborough and Whitby are a welcome change from the earlier proposal by Sustrans.
The Sustrans plan was to increase the appeal of the track to cyclists by felling a vast number of trees along its 21.5 miles, widening the track and covering it in a ‘cyclist friendly’ surface.
Their plans took virtually no account of the remoteness, tranquillity and wildness that most of the track has become, and both Sustrans and Scarborough Borough Council seemed to have been blindsided by the weight of opposition to them.
But the job is not yet done. The revised plans take more account of the needs of walkers and horse riders. The benefits of walking or cycling along the line, specifically because you are attracted to its unique peacefulness and tranquillity, are paramount.
Today’s speed cycling enthusiasts will be tomorrow’s older generation and will, I am sure, look back on our attempt to preserve the natural beauty and ecology of the line as a triumph of common sense over the overriding planning test of ‘economic benefit’ and commercialisation that amounts to nothing more than vandalism.
All of the statutory agencies involved in this must now work together to ensure that the Sustrans plans for the desecration of this natural beauty are firmly rejected and any future development is both overseen and implemented in a sensitive way, with maintenance being the overriding aim.
Cutting works congestion
From: David Fletcher, Cragg Vale.
ALONG with many others, I share concerns about the frequency of roadworks and consequent traffic disruption in the area.
If every utility seeking permission to excavate their underground services was compelled to put the replacement in a 4ft diameter tube below the footpath, with a manhole cover every 100 metres, eventually they would create an easily accessible roadside tunnel to obviate the need for any future digging. It’s called future planning.
However, this would not have avoided the man-made catastrophe currently taking place in Mytholmroyd.
Yes, the flood relief measures are necessary (with the possible exception of the total rebuild of the relatively new Caldene Bridge), but need they take so long and have such massive exclusion zones?
Contrast the hours worked by the Environment Agency sponsored team in Mytholmroyd, with those currently engaged by Yorkshire Water to lay new mains through the length of Cragg Vale. This latter team start early, work late with the aid of arc lights and are on site seven days a week. There is some congestion, but they will soon be finished and gone.
Cuts that hit car parking
From: Peter Judge, Rastrick.
WITH regard to the debate about the future of town centres, I think the new system for on-street parking charges – 30 minutes free, and just 20p for an hour – in Brighouse works really well.
As for car park charges, recently I went on holiday to the Dales. On the way, we decided to stop off for lunch in Skipton. We parked in the local council car park. One hour was £1.20 (two hours £2.30 and three hours £3.50). Rather more than in Brighouse.
The local council is Craven District. Guess who runs Craven? Funnily enough, the Tories. For the record, when I was the Labour and Co-operative councillor for Rastrick ward between 1994 and 1998, I opposed any charges for parking in Brighouse area.
But since 2010, the Tory dominated ‘demolition coalition’ under David Cameron, and the subsequent Tory government under Theresa May, have slashed the share of our taxes paid to local government.
Therefore, I now accept, albeit reluctantly, that we need to charge for car parking and. I think the present Labour-led council in Calderdale has done a fantastic job in keeping services together in the face of the Tory onslaught on local council funding.
Piling up cost of rubbish
From: Martin Longbottom, Northowram.
WITH regard to a permit scheme and charges at household waste recycling centres, Calderdale Council must be completely out of touch. They are supposed to be encouraging recycling and discouraging fly tipping. This action will do the exact opposite.
If the council make it difficult or costly to take rubbish to the tip, then people will take the easier, cheaper route.
Can they not see that rubbish needs to be disposed of in the simplest way possible?
It costs the council to pick up fly tipping – probably two or three times what it costs them to just allow people to take it directly to the tip.
Real meaning of Christmas
From: Peter Hyde, Driffield.
BELIEVE me when I say I am not a wet blanket when it comes to Christmas, Like everyone else, I do love the joy of giving and receiving presents during this happy time.
Christmas, sadly, means an increase in borrowing and debt for some just so that they can buy things to celebrate the season of goodwill and completely forget the real reason why we celebrate Christmas.
If they would just stop and give a thought to the why, they may get through December without the totally unnecessary burden they have brought upon themselves for 2019.