READERS may be aware that members of the local Conservative Party undertook a mass leaflet campaign in Malton and Norton last month ahead of May’s local elections to Ryedale District Council (RDC).

The content of the leaflet focused on the Derwent Practice and issues relating to the housing development scheme in Malton and Norton. We are writing as the GP partnership of the Derwent Practice to clarify our position on this.

We have recently been in discussion with RDC officers and councillors to discuss infrastructure funding through the Community Infrastructure Levy associated with the current housing development programme in our area.

We provided detailed information to inform further discussion at district and county council level, and also to address concerns which one of our councillors had raised with us on behalf of residents. We did not expect to see the information that we had provided being used for party political purposes in a campaign leaflet, and we had no prior knowledge that the information would be used in this way.

We wish to emphasise that we are a non-political organisation and we do not align ourselves with any political party or any particular candidate standing for election in May.

Following the leaflet campaign some of our patients expressed concern that the future of our practice is in some way insecure and we think this may reflect the way the leaflet was framed. We wish to reassure them this is not the case at all. The discussions we are having are with a view to building upon, improving and extending the range of services we already offer.

We are, of course, closely in touch with our patients day to day, and overall the feedback we receive both formally and informally is very positive.

We are confident that all our candidates for local political office share our hopes and ambitions with regard to improving and developing local health services in harmony with our changing demographics.

We look forward to working with all members of our newly-elected council to achieve this in due course, irrespective of their political persuasion.

The GP partnership of the Derwent Practice

It’s no joke

WHEN we were very young we had a little joke that went something like this:

“Roll up! Roll up! See the biggest elephant in the world! Don’t stand too close to its backside, Sonny...”

We then let-rip with the loudest “raspberry” we could muster, and delivered the punch line: “Whoops! Too late, dig him out, Sam!”

If you don’t mind being the butt of the joke, and having even more dung dropped directly on your heads, you’ll love what comes next.

On Tuesday, March 19, Ryedale District Council (RDC) planning committee was “advised” by the RDC’s head of planning not to fight an appeal against a plan to approve a new BP filling station and M&S outlet on the site of the old Dewhirst factory in Norton for fear of costs being awarded against the council. Don’t laugh, they did.

This latest pile of steaming manure to be forked on the users of the level crossing and junction of Church Street and Welham Road, Norton, was approved by the RDC planning committee, who did as they were told.

Not all the members voted in favour of this lunacy, but the majority threw the Malton and Norton residents under a bus, and ran screaming from the BP lawyers without a fight.

If our incumbent MP and the super-keen Cllr Duncan have really got our interests at heart, and are not simply stoking publicity for the imminent local elections, they will fight the new filling station in Norton, and tell BP to B-off to Brambling Fields.

Simon Thackray, Brawby

Financial millstone

RESIDENTS of Pickering beware, Pickering Town Council has ratified an eyewatering 14.8 per cent increase to your council tax bill.

This is the latest in a string of inflation-busting annual increases.

In monetary terms, Pickering Town Council has increased its element of the council tax bill by £34.46 since 2012/13, whereas Ryedale District Council’s has only increased by £19.10 (based on an average Band D Property).

Why? No logic for the increase.

Despite pointing this out to Pickering Town Council prior to setting this year’s budget, it voted through its greatest percentage increase in seven years.

While the Government can cap district and county councils, fire and police annual increases, no such power exists for parish and town councils.

I fear Pickering Town Council taking over responsibility for the “community park” as no doubt it will turn out to be yet another expensive financial millstone around residents’ necks.

Matthew France, Pickering