I WAS disappointed to read of the debate held by Hambleton District councillors at which the view was put forward that Northallerton has very little history.
Our castle has not survived quite like those at Helmsley or Pickering, but we do have a motte and bailey with a dramatic history. In addition, the site of the Bishop’s Palace is very clear still, with its moat, even if it is now ‘the old cemetery’. We do not have a Minster or Cathedral but our All Saints’ Church is on the site of an Anglo-Saxon Minster and is a fine building with a wealth of interest inside, much of it reflecting our changing history.
Reference was made to Register House, beautifully cared for by Joe Cornish. As a building, it is very little altered from the early 18th century, and it also made a very important contribution towards Northallerton becoming the county town of the North Riding.
In addition, we have a fine Georgian High Street with such gems as Bettys and Waterstones, a very attractive Old Grammar School building dating from 1776 and the famous Porch House just opposite.
Moreover Northallerton has some splendid early 20th Century buildings: County Hall itself, the superb facade to the Station Hotel and the Barclays Bank building, to name but three.
However, an interest in local history is so much more than the actual buildings, as witnessed by the huge numbers who flocked to see the prison site, or the hundreds who filled the forum to hear a distinguished medieval historian discuss the significance of the Battle of the Standard in 1138 AD.
Local history is about what made us how we are. Why is the town the shape it is? How did we earn our living? What national dramas were lived through here? How many famous – or infamous – people have visited, even if they did often pass through on the Great North Road on their way to somewhere else!
I accept that we still need to find more ways of presenting information and many people locally are working on that, but I do feel there may be other reasons for visitors not staying long, like the lack of toilets and no convenient bus park.
School traffic a danger
From: Steve Webster, Halifax.
I WRITE again about inconsiderate parking around Trinity Academy at Holmfield, and all other schools.
Not only is dropping off on zig-zags and zebra crossings illegal, but it is very dangerous. I have seen cars stopped in the queues and the door opened for a child to exit and nearly injuring a passing cyclist.
So I ask authorities to clamp down on this by videoing/photographing inconsiderate and dangerous drivers and prosecuting them. A fine and points may shame them into stopping this madness before even their own child gets hurt.
The irony is that probably most of the children getting dropped off live less than a five or 10 minute walk away.
Pay staff a living wage
From: Coun James Baker, Leader of the Lib Dem group, Calderdale Council.
AS a Living Wage-accredited employer, Calderdale Council must put in place a plan to ensure all its sub-contractors are paid a living wage.
I have therefore written to the Labour administration running Calderdale to ask what plans they had in place with Suez to ensure workers collecting our household waste and recycling are paid the Living Wage.
Currently some of the lowest paid receive £7.93 per hour – 10p above the minimum wage – but they would be earning at least the ‘real’ Living Wage rate of £8.75 per hour if employed by the town hall. If they are serious about paying the Living Wage, then the Labour administration can’t just outsource the work to companies that pay below it.
Spoiling the show
From: Christine Jagger, Morley, Leeds.
I WONDER if any other readers have had issues with the behaviour of guests at both the First Direct Arena and The Grand Theatre in Leeds?
On visits to both recently, my pleasure was spoilt by people who constantly drink and then become rowdy.
Along with the drink come numerous trips to the toilets and the bar, hence rows of people having to stand.
Can people these days not go without a drink for two to three hours?
It is time that management in these establishments served soft drinks only, and allowed the entertainment on the stage to be enjoyed by ticket holders who have, in most cases, paid out a lot of money to see the show in question.
Time ripe for change
From: Harry Brooke, Meanwood.
NOW David Dimbleby is retiring from Question Time, and Fiona Bruce taking over in the New Year (Bernard Ingham, The Yorkshire Post, December 12), it would seem to be a good time for the BBC to make some long overdue changes to prevent the programme becoming even more predictable and unwatchable.
There is no point in having the same old politicians, who spout only their party line and are not afraid to commit to anything in case they get a rap on the knuckles.
It would be so refreshing to hear the views of business people, other such professionals and all those members of the public who have experience of real life.