WITH all the heavy rain of recent weeks, the closure of the A59 between Bolton Abbey and Blubberhouses because of a possible landslip at Kex Gill came as no surprise.

At least twice in the last few years the road has been closed while the same stretch of bank has been reinforced and strengthened in attempts to stop it from collapsing into the road. But it seems all the effort has come to nothing.

If money was no object, North Yorkshire County Council would build a bypass, give up fighting nature and let the land do what it wants to do. But money is most definitely an object, and never more so than now, when the council is faced with having to find an additional £11 million savings in this financial year and a further £9 million the year after.

So, what does that mean for Craven and the busy and quickest route to Harrogate and beyond, which has effectively been cut off?

It is bad enough when the road is closed for a few hours, or days - the only sensible diversion being through Ilkley and Otley. Hours are added onto journeys.

And it's not just normal commuters who are so inconvenienced, along with the problems heaped on already-congested Ilkley and Otley.

Last year, Skipton Police Station lost its cells, meaning officers now have to take people under arrest to Harrogate Police Station for questioning. What was a half hour journey, has now been more than doubled.

Skipton Magistrates' Court, which sits on Mondays and Fridays, is serviced by staff from Harrogate, who are now faced with much longer journeys. Without question, the road cannot be reopened until it is safe to do so, but one wonders what it will take to make it safe, and not just until the next bout of heavy rain. It is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue and one that should not be the absolute responsibility of cash-strapped North Yorkshire County Council.