AFTER my recent time in the US, I was immediately made aware of the horrendous traffic and parking problems we face in Harrogate every time we get behind the wheel.
My partial solution is quite simple, good for the environment and would lessen the stress we drivers face. Go back to smaller cars! Make it financially attractive and prick the consciences of those driving monsters around our streets.
We are stuck with our narrow roads and winding country lanes. But we need not be stuck with our large vehicles. Who needs a Range Rover or Discovery to do the weekly shop?
As we know, every new model is larger than the previous and this even includes the new Mini Countryman. Squeezing through narrow roads, trying not to hit wing mirrors is a daily frustration. This is followed by attempting to park between two large cars, followed by getting in and out of your car without whacking doors. And I’m smaller than the average. This should not and need not be the case.
If only there was a powerful lobby group for this, it would make life pleasanter and be good for the environment.
Developers have power
From: Jerry Diccox, Main Street, Darley.
LAST Saturday’s Property supplement (The Yorkshire Post, October 6) included the advice to householders wishing to obtain planning permission for a project to consider commissioning the expertise of a planning consultant to help things along.
This is undoubtedly good advice for anyone seeking to obtain permission for a controversial or difficult application. The key to success is the term “sustainable development”, a slippery phrase which the skilful consultant will interpret as they wish.
Local planning officers – often less skilled than these consultants and under pressure to get the application processed – too often accept these claims at face value without bothering (or wishing) to challenge them, even in preference to well-argued objections from local residents.
This is something that I have witnessed at first hand here in Yorkshire and across the border in Lancashire. The planning system is a sham and is weighted in favour of developers, who always have the option of appeal – there is no appeal available to communities or individuals against decisions made in favour of harmful developments.
Protected landscape areas are particularly under threat in a system where planning permission can, to a large extent, be bought if you employ the right people.
Mental toll of the screen age
From: Brian Sheridan, Lodge Moor, Sheffield.
IT is reported that there is an increase in the number of young people who are non-drinkers and those who do not drink to excess (The Yorkshire Post, October 10).
My guess is that, like the decline in young unwanted pregnancies, this is related to the the obsession with the mobile phone and social media: youngsters are not getting out and about.
At the same time, however, there is reported to be an increase in mental illness and attempted suicide in the 15-19 age group.
Whatever the risks, drinking is usually a social activity, especially for the young, where they can look each other in the eye, back-slap, hug, converse naturally and generally interact in ways which are simply not possible on a small screen.
Life has changed in so many ways for many young people but, on balance, not for the better.
From: Canon Michael Storey, Healey Wood Road, Brighouse.
STATISTICS regarding suicides, mental health issues for schoolchildren and university students are frightening.
I think that is is right that all levels of society should be concerned about mental health issues. A recent survey on people’s religious beliefs made very sad reading.
Fifty-two per cent of people now say that they have no religion. I am wondering if there is connection between the growth of mental health issues and a decline in religious belief? I suspect that there is.
Charity bags are welcome
From: Mrs E Bell, Driffield.
REGARDING Coun Tim Mickleburgh (The Yorkshire Post, October 6) and his unwanted charity bags, perhaps he should consider that his is just one opinion; speaking for myself and no doubt several other caring people, I certainly don’t object to the bags as they give me the opportunity to donate unwanted items to various charities.
Perhaps I shouldn’t spread myself thinly but I suppose its a case of the “widow’s mite” and hopefully a little going a long way!
Unfair to Archbishops
From: Bill Heppell, York.
THE columm about the retirement of Dr John Sentamu (The Yorkshire Post, October 6) was unfair and unkind to his predecessors. There have been 97 Archbishops of York since Paulinus and most readers would have a problem in remembering many of them. However, if you canvassed the residents of Bishopthorpe where the Archbishop lives, you would find that his predecessor Dr David Hope was well-known and well-liked, as he was frequently about in the village.
From: Janet Berry, Hambleton.
I VOTED for Katya Jones and Seann Walsh on Strictly Come Dancing, so I really hope they continue and are not bullied to leave by social media. Who are we to judge?