A COUPLE of letters in the Craven Herald on the subject of local government re-organisation brought nostalgic thoughts, back to 1974 when I was a Highway Engineer with Settle Rural District Council.

To jog memories and alert younger readers 1974 was the previous local government shake up when Settle RDC was abolished and Craven District Council formed linking Settle with Skipton's Urban and Rural Councils. Currently thoughts are turning to the formation of a new "local" authority, no doubt with lengthy arguments ensuing from representatives and employees of the various councils about to lose their identity, whilst challenging for power and influence in any new set up.

Back in 1974 Settle RDC was responsible for a substantial road network, an extensive stock of council houses, sewers, sewerage works, refuse collection/disposal, matters associated with public health and the collection of domestic and business rates. These tasks were administered from Settle Town Hall (aka The Kremlin), with work on the ground carried out by a skilled direct labour force.

The office/management staff and external workers were all based in the area.

In all aspects it was certainly local government.

The new system (whatever is adopted) will move matters further way from local control, and I have doubts whether financial or other benefits will materialise.

But again it will have been a costly exercise involving parliamentarians, civil servants and local authority staff and councillors - indeed further expense will be incurred as the various authorities argue their case.

I know that I may have a slightly biased view of past aspects of this matter, but I don't feel that 1974 improved things and it's most unlikely that the current proposals will either. Whatever the outcome it certainly will not be local government!

Trevor Graveson