Sir - We are friends and fellow students of the people involved in the fatal accident that occurred in the early hours of Sunday May 10 on Broughton Road, Skipton. We are writing this letter to emphatically protest at the lack of safety features on this dangerous road.

Two young girls have already been tragically killed travelling down this obviously hazardous road. Now another budding life has been taken and another one hangs in the balance.

Some people may feel those involved in this accident are partly to blame for carelessly driving. Being teenagers ourselves and knowing those involved personally, we can honestly say this was not the case.

We collectively feel that the part of Broughton Road in question has been a blackspot for these kinds of accidents for some time and are concerned as to why it has not been looked at more seriously sooner. Not only is this road known for its sharp corners, but the apparent lack of safety features has also now fully come to the attention of all of us. This is, more specifically, a blackspot for teenagers who have limited experience and are subjected to these perils.

The speed limit, we feel, is one of the main issues which needs to be looked at. The current limit is 60 miles per hour. This does seem alarmingly fast on such a challenging road. It is especially unsafe when the road is right next to the canal.

The right speed, we are suggesting, is 30 miles per hour. We know speed limits only work if people adhere to them but, after events past, we feel people most certainly will.

The second issue, which is just as important, is the lack of any suitable safety barriers. With Broughton Road having tight corners and being next to the canal it is, as already seen, liable to accidents. Safety barriers will not stop accidents, but we feel they would greatly decrease the severity of any which occur.

This might not be the last of the deaths, considering that a lot of people are unfamiliar with this road and have no way of protecting themselves if all goes wrong. This is why we feel safety features are a must.

Our thoughts are with the families at this sad time. The question we all need to ask is: How many more people need to die before something is done?

Fresh Start Course students, Craven College, Gargrave Road, Skipton

Fence responsibility

Sir - After recent events at Niffany (the canal tragedy), surely the attitude of the council wants a severe shaking. Just whose responsibility is it to prevent tragedies such as these drownings happening?

As I see it, that fence is the responsibility of the canal company (British Waterways) and the adjacent path is a continuation of the towpath. Basic law states that whoever creates a potential hazard is duty bound to stop/prevent livestock or humans getting into it. The old fence was fine for livestock and horses, but transport has moved on and it now needs upgrading. So, let’s have some action or do we have to instigate yet another public inquiry?

Stephen Cuthbert, Eshton Road, Gargrave

Proof of peril

Sir - Regarding the fatal crash at Niffany, to quote your paper after the 2008 fatalities: “Chris Craven, area highways manager (North Yorkshire County Council), told a meeting of the Craven Area Committee that the installation of a safety fence on Broughton Road was being considered.” (June 2, 2008)

Why have none of our current elected representatives on North Yorkshire County Council made absolutely sure this happened?

The county council states it is investigating whether further safety measures are needed! It has been tragically proved they are. Please get on with it.

Kath Lloyd, Pear Tree Terrace, Bradley

Parking anger

Sir - Just when I thought I’d heard it all and it couldn’t get any worse, I read with open-mouthed disbelief and considerable anger about Craven District Council’s (CDC’s) latest plan to commandeer up to 90 spaces in the Coach Street car park for the exclusive use of its own staff.

This gob-smacking proposal comes less than a month after visitors to Skipton have had to endure a price-hike in all car parks (where most towns are either reducing charges or introducing incentives to attract visitors) and where Skipton Town Council has had to rescue Coach Street public toilets from closure.

We can even top this further, with the news that CDC’s car park working group has concluded its work, seems to be pinning all its hopes on Skipton Castle opening a new car park in the distant future and admits its work has probably been a waste of time for reasons it has to keep secret.

Unbelievable – especially as the Chamber of Trade was promised we would be involved further in these discussions.

To summarise then, CDC spent £19,000 on a report telling us we are desperately short of spaces – and the best solution they can come up with is to take a further 90 out of use. Incredible.

All businesses in Skipton are struggling with reduced takings and increasing outgoings and, while we may be doing better than some, times are seriously tough and we need every visitor we can get. If CDC cannot accommodate its staff at the proposed new offices then it simply should not move there.

This latest nonsense cannot be blamed on a financial crisis, on previous administrations or on long- gone council officials. It is simply pathetic and not on.

If we carry on like this, CDC’s best plan would be to put up signs saying “No Visitors Allowed”!

For once, will CDC please stop and listen to the people and businesses it is supposed to represent.

The Chamber of Trade will not simply sit back and let this happen.

Joan Evans, President, Skipton Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Barclays Bank Chambers, High Street, Skipton

Fascism threat

Sir - It is entirely understandable why many people today are cynical about politics, both nationally and locally.

Many more are angry. They have every reason to be. But I urge people not to let that righteous anger or cynicism lead them to stay at home on June 4 or, worse still, register a “protest vote” for the BNP.

If parties like the BNP are able to secure 25 MEPs from seven countries, they become eligible to form their own European parliamentary group and receive around £1 million a year in public funding.

BNP leader Nick Griffin himself would be a likely candidate to lead the new group, which would include fascists, neo-Nazis and other European extremists.

Seventy years ago, brave people went to war and risked their lives – and many gave their lives – to defeat fascism in Europe. The fascists are on the march again and what we have to do now is vote.

This letter is not intended to ask you to vote for me, or the other candidates from my party, but just to vote. For anybody except the BNP.

Dr Duncan Hall, vice-chairman, Skipton and Ripon Constituency Labour Party, Neville Street, Skipton

Distant Tories

Sir - It is amusing how Tory candidates in the North Yorkshire elections on June 4 are distancing themselves from their party.

Firstly, we read a letter from Paul Whitaker (Herald, April 30) who denies Tory involvement in the disastrous Craven budget decisions of spring 2008. In fact, County Coun Ireton (Tory, North Craven) had a vote as a district councillor and voted in favour. The other Tories, including Coun Whitaker, abstained.

They did not vote to amend; they did not vote against. As their leader, Coun Knowles-Fitton has admitted in public they failed in their duty as opposition. To make matters worse, the Tories never insisted on regular meetings with finance officers in 2007-8 to monitor accounts.

This could not have been legally refused, but the figures were not asked for. So the budget was based on false assumptions for income and expenditure. This was neglect by all parties, including the Tories. Now, as a resident of Airedale (ward), I have received a Tory circular from another candidate, who is aware of “issues” including education, possible flooding in the flood-plain, poor bus services and high fares to villages affecting the elderly and others without cars, and the bus station.

We are not informed about Tory policy to do anything. (The failure to provide train fare reductions from Skipton, road gritting and repairs are ignored.) This is an unusual tactic. The party in government in the county seeks to remain there for four years by talking down its own record!

Come on the Conservatives; show some Yorkshire grit. You’re Tories. Or are you unable to admit it?

Robert Holland, Skipton Road, Cononley

Voting puzzle

Sir - After the events of the last weeks, both nationally and locally. One is unsure what to do with one’s vote isn’t one? Are there any candidates for the Raving Looney Party out there? Or better still, a nice-looking sheep or pig.

P Shelley, Brook Street, Skipton

Wrong track

Sir - I was interested to read in Coun Paul Whitaker’s election leaflet recently delivered in our area that he has been campaigning for the railway bridges in Skipton to be repainted. A worthy enough aim. However, he states that he has been in contact with Railtrack for a number of years.

Small wonder that his campaign has made little headway. Railtrack was placed into voluntary liquidation in 2002. Network Rail has been operating the track and rail infrastructure for the past seven years.

John Manley, Burnside Avenue, Skipton

* Editor’s note: To be fair to all sides, this was the last week for letters making new political points about the elections and next week is the last week for responses. Deadline is 10am on Tuesday.

Who does what?

Sir - With elections coming up (use your vote!), Craven Herald readers may like to muse over the following points.

We have three layers of councils here in Craven: 1 parish/ town; 2 district; 3 county. In many parts of the district there is another layer of bureaucracy – the National Park.

I still can’t fathom out what each of them is responsible for. There are many areas of overlap and subsequent buck-passing and obfuscation. One common thread is impotence, incompetence and inefficiency.

With the current political turmoil in Westminster, what exactly do our elected and non-elected quango members do for the large amounts of money they cost us, both in running costs and “expenses”?

In Craven, there is talk of combining functions with larger neighbouring authorities. Why not go one step further and eliminate Craven and hive off parts to Bradford (Skipton and points south), Ribble Valley (Ribblesdale), Lancaster (Austwick and points west) and the rest to Harrogate?

Closing toilets and other petty and annoying cuts will not balance the budget – cutting down Craven District Council to its proper size or eliminating it will. It won’t make much difference to the average person; local accountability in Craven went some time ago.

Jon Blythe, Raines Court, Giggleswick

A rubbish idea...

Sir - I find Colin Walker’s “bright idea” of a fortnightly rubbish collection (Herald, May 7) ludicrous. All one had to do was turn to Page 13 of the Herald and read the article regarding fly-tipping; doesn’t this say it all?

What are people expected to do with their rubbish? With a family, our recycling bins are always full, as is our green bin every week.

Would it not be better to start where the problem lies and educate supermarkets etc about better packaging materials?

We grow our own veggies to help reduce plastic packaging. We did have two compost bins, but they took forever to turn waste into compost which encouraged vermin, so they had to go, unfortunately. I am a member of several groups whose sole aim is to recycle and keep items out of landfill.

My recycling bins are always full on the once-a-fortnight collection. I recycle carrier bags to use as dog poops bags, to replace the cost-cutting measure of free dog poops bags that the council brought in. The rabbits and guinea pigs eat unwanted veg and grass cuttings.

We are not allowed bonfires any more because of the law, so how do we get rid of the rubbish? This has cost-cutting written all over it. Or is our council tax going to be greatly reduced for our inconvenience? I suppose not. I can see it costing us even more to hire the environmental health department for the rats this will encourage. This is free at the moment, but for how long? The free service to remove household items got taken away in April.

It will cost us more in petrol, visiting the tip – and we will then be blamed for contributing to global warming, so we can’t win.

Maybe if the council had not lost £2 million it would not have to scrape the barrel by making our waste collection fortnightly, removing the free household goods service, taking public toilets away etc and instead lecturing us on making pork sandwiches, as Coun Chris Harbron suggested in the article.

May I ask how many letters the council has had in favour of fortnightly rubbish collections?

Trudy Jones, Burnmoor View, Ingleton

... Or not

Sir - How much longer is the whingeing about the proposed fortnightly bin collections going to continue? I would really be interested to know what on earth Patricia Mason is throwing away for her green bin to be full to the brim every week. We are a family of four and our green bin is hardly half-full each week. We only throw away what can’t be recycled and that doesn’t amount to much.

Yes, of course the fortnightly collections will result in savings.

However, there is another very important consideration here and that is the fact that far too much rubbish is going into landfill.

People should be thinking far less selfishly about minor inconveniences to their own lives and more about the wider picture – what we are doing to our environment and the mess we are leaving for future generations?

Fern O’Brien, Hawthorn Close, Hellifield

Homes objection ...1

Sir - My wife and I wish to protest most strongly at the proposed housing development off Ingfield Lane, Settle.

The land is not on the officially designated map for future development. This is of paramount importance since the sites in the area which are officially earmarked for development have remained untouched. If these barren sites were developed, it would make a major contribution to the adopted Regional Strategy for Yorkshire and Humberside.

In addition to these undeveloped sites, anyone familiar with Settle knows there are plenty of empty, affordable properties. Moreover, new-built houses on the periphery of the land in question have remained unsold and empty for months.

It is also important to look at other aspects if the development goes ahead. If we have an influx of families coming to Settle, can anyone guarantee work for them in an area not noted for industrial opportunities? And what about children being brought up in these spacious, family homes? Will there be enough school places? Finding dentists, too, might be a problem.

The land is in an area of outstanding natural beauty. For centuries, cows, bullocks and sheep have grazed happily on this prime pasture. The animals will be denied this rich feeding ground at a time when the Government is warning about possible future food shortages.

A freshwater brook runs through the land. This, of course, not only waters the animals, but acts as a magnet for all kinds of wildlife. Herons, ducks, all kinds of birds and an abundance of aquatic life flourish at the brook which, of course, is a tributary of the River Ribble. All this natural beauty will be replaced with bricks and mortar if the bulldozers move in and culvert the brook.

Settle, nestling against a backdrop of outstanding beauty, has a proud heritage. Ramblers and sightseers flock to the town every year because of its scenic beauty.

It is, by reputation, a gateway to the Dales. But what sort of gateway will visitors see if one of the area’s outstanding beauty spots is bespoiled by bricks and cement?

In this case, someone might have succumbed to a pot of gold. We say preserving this panoramic beauty for future generations comes before monetary gain.

Rex and Hannah Brindle, aged 92 and 97, Falcon Gardens, Settle

Homes objection ...2

Sir - With reference to the outline planning application for 37 dwellings at Settle, south of Ingfield Lane, we wish to make our objections known.

This area is a greenfield site, which is good agricultural land. It fattens cattle and sheep and it would be a big loss to the country.

This site is on a flood plain and collects water from a vast area of hill land. The area of collection stretches from Castleberg Crag to the north and as far as Cleatop Wood to the south. The area between these two points is between 800 and 1,000 acres.

There are three streams which flow on to this flood plain, plus additional water from the surrounding hills. This causes flood during heavy rain. This accumulation of water can take several days to drain away. In the immediate area of this planning application, there is already approved planning for 32 houses which the developers are finding difficult to sell. We find it, therefore, most unnecessary to build anymore properties.

M and F Sedgwick, Falcon Gardens, Settle

Uncivilised cuts

Sir - The executive committee of the Ramblers, West Riding Area, has learned of proposals by Craven Council to close public toilets at Bentham, Burnsall, Gargrave, Ingleton and Settle.

It views with grave concern these proposals as the public toilets concerned are close to paths frequently used by walkers starting from or passing through these locations.

Public toilets are a mark of a decent, civilised society and are not dispensable. Their threatened closure is an affront to public decency and will cause unnecessary discomfort to walkers and tourists, both of whom bring a great deal of economic benefit to communities in Craven.

This executive committee, therefore, calls upon Craven Council to reverse these regrettable proposals.

Carl Richman, Area Contact Secretary, West Riding Area, The Ramblers, Brackenwood Drive, Leeds

Bus station folly

Sir - Yet another letter about Skipton bus station. Surely it should be called a folly. My dictionary defines a folly as: Such a great useless structure or one left unfinished because it was begun without establishing the cost.

Ken Bullock, Railway Terrace, Skipton