9:00am Saturday 28th April 2012
Trains cannot safely convey scooters
Sir - I would like to take this opportunity to respond to issues raised in the Craven Herald (April 12) and clearly explain our policy on conveying mobility scooters on Northern Rail services. Here at Northern, we are constantly striving to accommodate the needs of all our passengers.
Safety is paramount across the railway and at this time, our current fleet cannot safely convey mobility scooters.
Due to the restricted manoeuvrability and stability, we do not accept any type of scooter for travel on our services, regardless of size, unless it can be folded and carried on board as a piece of luggage.
We do not demand customers carry on the folded scooter themselves, if they are travelling alone or require assistance, our conductors will be happy to assist with loading and unloading.
Going forward, we will be working hard to instill consistency across our network with staff and at stations, to ensure all Northern passengers who use mobility scooters are aware of our policy.
We understand that these scooters offer mobility to many individuals, but at present, they are not officially recognised as a disability aid. As such we are not legally required to carry them on our services but we are working hard with our industry partners to find realistic solutions for passengers who wish to use them.
Peter Myers, Head of Service Quality, Northern Rail
First swallow sighted
Sir - On April 16 at 6.30am myself and a neighbour sighted two swallows over Whinnygill Reservoir. The birds were in poor condition and near to exhaustion. They must have had a rough flight from South Africa.
After half an hour of feeding up on flies and insects over the reservoir they went on their way inland.
On the same evening one swallow was photographed in York and shown on Jon Mitchell’s ITV weather programme. Possibly one of the swallows that had flown from over Whinnygill earlier in the day.
In the last five years the swallows have come back from migration a week either side of April 21. Whinnygill Reservoir is on a flight path for migrant birds. Shaped like a bowl it acts as a feeding station with flies and insects in abundance for hungry birds. The swallow has an inherent instinct that enables the birds to fly 100s of miles around stormy weather to get to their destination.
“The swallow is on the decline”. The birds all over the country are coming back from migration in low numbers.
In 2006, I sighted and recorded 60 swallows at one time feeding up over Whinnygill Reservoir some years ago in Transvaal a million swallows were counted and recorded roosting in one place.
Allan Mason, Jennygill Crescent, Skipton
Blight on landscape
Sir - With reference to the wind farm at Brightenber Hill I see that there is going to be another planing application made. How many more is there to be?
All these applications and appeals are a financial burden on Craven District Council and must be costing us, the taxpayer, a vast amount of money in these times of hardship, especially when it would appear that the majority of local people don't want the wind turbines.
I understand that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Planning Committee recommended refusal for the last application and I can understand why as I live in Long Preston and walk with my dog on the hills above Long Preston and Hellifield from where the turbines will be visible. These large turbines will be a blight on the landscape, even the smaller ones at 25 metres are an eyesore, installing three as opposed to five will still be harmful to the area.
As a wildlife lover I wonder what harm will be done to the birds.
I am led to believe that it costs more in CO2 emissions and money to manufacture and install the turbines than the savings that will be made as opposed to conventional generating of power than using wind power.
Chris Moorby, Long Preston
Sir - In the past I’ve written to correct misquoted Shakespeare. Allow me to correct misquoted physics.
It is meaningless to state that the hydro-electric scheme at Carleton Wend dam will produce up to 2800 “kw/hours per year”. Check your bills to see that electricity and gas energy consumption is measured in kWh (kilowatt-hour); not kilowatt per hour. Average household consumption of electricity is around 5000 kWh each year. So, at Carleton Wend dam, your report implies it’s 2800 kWh of energy each year. Who got it wrong: the reporter or the proponents?
Now, I might be obsessive, but is the 2800 incorrect too? It’s only half the average household’s annual consumption. 2800 kWh each year implies that the generator’s power output is in the region of 320 to 800 watt (depending on whether the water wheel turns for 100 per cent or 40 per cent of the year, respectively). So we’re looking at a hydro-electric scheme that will power nothing more than a two-slice electric toaster (if it’s the higher figure) or a single 42 inch plasma-screen television (if it’s the lower); and this is a “community project (that) would benefit everyone”?
H J Hill, Settle
Memories of Skipton
Sir - I was most interested to read Mrs Smith’s memories of Otley Street, Bunkers Hill, Newmarket Street (Herald, April 12).
I lived on Newmarket Street up to 1941. And the shop on the corner of Bunkers Hill was David S Jones, I can remember most of the shops on Newmarket Street, Simpsons, O’Brien, Beard, and Horn. Then there was the Model Lodging House run by Mrs Brewin, Wilson’s Furniture, De Lucci, Dinsdale, Overend, and Dyneley House.
There was also the Cross Keys public house where the landlord was Mr Spencer who had previously been in charge of the Drill Hall on Otley Street.
There was a confectionery shop owned by two sisters and they made wonderful fruit pies.
On Newmarket Street there was Mrs Hindley Milliner, Wades Grocers, Whitaker’s Butchers, and The Barn at the bottom of Brougham Street was owned by Mr G Maude.
I remember when it rained heavily, the beck at the back of our house used to rise and flood all along the cottages on Club Houses and on to the Main Road, so I was surprised to hear they are building there.
I also bought a fish and a pen’orth 21/2d old money.
This is a subject I could go on with for ever, 70 years after leaving Skipton to join the ATS.
Alice Robinson, nee O’Brien, Rotherham
Sir - Re your history page feature of Skipton winning Rugby Union’s Yorkshire Cup a century ago. Should any present day union connoisseurs become confused as to how a 7-0 scoreline be achieved via a try and a drop goal, a try was worth just three points in those days (1912) and for generations thereafter, and a drop goal four points.
Roger Ingham, Aldersley Avenue, Skipton
Family history search
Sir - With regards to your recent article in this week’s Craven Herald (French woman investigates her Craven links) a quick search for Jack Barrett via findmypast reveals only three hits and one of those is from Keighley.
In 1911 a Barrett family were living in 48 Pitt Street Keighley.
Jack Barrett aged 21, a moulder of malleable Iron, lived with his parents Alfred and Hannah Barrett and his three brothers and one sister.
Could this be the Keighley/Alfred/Jack connection?
A look for the same information on Ancestry shows the Army Service Record 1914-1920 for a Jack Barrett. This record for the 6th Battalion West Riding Regiment, is dated 1909 when Jack was 19yrs and shows he lived at 48 Pitt Street and was a clerk for the Great Northern Railway.
Could this be the railway connection?
As for the Duke of Wellington’s Yorkshire Regiment connection? There was a J Barrett from Skipton in that regiment. He was killed in action during the First World War and maybe research has got regiments mixed up.
This may be a useful lead of a complete white elephant - we shall see.
Ben McKenzie Via email
Sir - North Yorkshire County Council is considering where to spend a grant to improve broadband services. South Craven with its population of 12,000 people needs to be considered for upgrading. NYCC have asked users to register on their website www.northyorks.gov.uk/ broadband It is a brief and simple but vital procedure. Obviously users, especially business and professional users, need to make their presence felt by registering.
The choice of areas to benefit will be made in September. The numbers and occupations of those registering will obviously be a factor. Mr Julian Smith MP has encouraged us to register to demonstrate our interest.
Broadband speeds in South Craven are not good particularly at peak times. In Farnhill download speeds seem to vary between 0.75 and 5Mbts. I understand that Cross Hills fares slightly better but other parts of the area also suffer. The government is aiming at widespread availability of 20 Mbts and 100Mbts in major cities.
I hope users will act in their own interest by registering in large numbers.
Stephen Wood, Farnhill
Sir - Next Thursday, the people of Keighley and Ilkley will face arguably our most important vote in almost four decades. It was 1974 when both towns lost their independence and were frog-marched into the new Metropolitan Borough of Bradford.
Despite the efforts of many good people from Keighley, Ilkley and the surrounding areas, we have never since been in control of our own destinies with Bradford City Hall instead being empowered to chart our course.
And despite Keighley and Ilkley residents paying more in council tax than the three Bradford constituencies combined, we have seen a very poor return for our money. I have long believed that the time has come for us to be given back responsibility for our own futures and allowed to set up our own local authority, perhaps in partnership with Shipley. But, before then, a huge threat awaits in the form of a Bradford-based directly elected mayor being handed significant powers and resources to shape our lives. Decisions on schools, adult social care, regenerations projects, road repairs, frequency of bin collections and grant funding will be his or her sole responsibility. That person will also be empowered to speak for “us” and “our interests” on the regional, national and international stage. Such an outcome would, in my view, be a disaster for Keighley and Ilkley.
This is not about party politics, it is about what is in the best interests of everyone who lives here. I therefore urge readers, no matter who you intend to support in the local elections being held on the same day, to put Keighley and Ilkley first by voting “no” in the mayoral referendum on Thursday, May 3. Kris Hopkins MP for Keighley & Ilkley
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