WAS it a product of the Blair years that encouraged and financed market towns to create working parties to go forth and formulate plans for the future of their communities?

It must be 17 or 18 years since the Memorial Hall hosted an exhibition offering insight into the mindset of our own, our very own self-anointed Pickering 2020 Team.

Twenty-four large professionally produced display boards gave us insight of what we could look forward to in the near future. It really was an impressive and well attended event, particularly by us “oldies”.

Who can remember the “piece de resistance”, the prospective “Walkway in the Sky”, an elevated platform above the rooftops running round the town centre, where one could look down on the world below and marvel.

A railway-crossing style bridge would straddle Hungate leading into a converted coal-yard (now Lidl), a courtyard of petite retail units offering a plethora of organic, healthy and shabby chic items.

The beck side walk would extend out towards the Scout Hut and the old Roger’s Nursery in Whitby Road (now Woodlands Park Estate) would be converted into a massive leisure park.

On it went, two dozen glossy boards full of fantasy and fun with little thought of cost, planning permission or the problems of infiltrating private property.

A young lady, who appeared to be in charge of the proceedings, gave me “the glance sceptical” when I suggested the whole town could be enveloped beneath a large dome, thus creating within a micro-climate, where it would always be summer, and us “wrinklies” would be transported by monorail to supermarket, surgery and eventually a world beyond.

At the time I wrote to this paper declaring the whole exercise was ludicrous, had been a colossal waste of tax-payers’ money and would never, ever happen.

A week later, your letters’ page was full of invective (probably Team siblings) denouncing my negativity and cynicism. Moi? Oh the vilification and abuse.

Well it’s here 2020 and it would be amusing, nay captivating in these dark days of winter, if these boards could be regurgitated and re-exhibited to assess how much of it “The Team” actually achieved over the years, what we’ve been spared, and with some indication of how many potholes could have been filled in with the money involved.

Googling “Pickering 2020” would indicate that “The Team” disbanded and disappeared without trace long ago. Accounts are unavailable. One can only surmise these, the plans and display boards are now part of landfill, so an appraisal would appear to be a dream. Or was it all a dream? However, I must prepare to skulk.

Jack Skidmore, Pickering

Shambolic service

In Gazette & Herald, December 18, Leo Goodwin, chief executive TransPennine Express (TPE), blamed trains being cancelled on new trains being delivered late and drivers not being trained as if these were acts of some malevolent god.

These are absolutely things that any well ran organisation is in control of (ie driver training can be scheduled in advance of the new trains being deployed into service, contingency plans can be made in case the delivery of the new trains is delayed, etc).

None of this seems to have happened this winter, the service is shambolic.

And this brings me to my second point, TPE and Leo Goodwin need to be held to account by the government who have granted and overseen the running of the franchise.

Instead in the years since Kevin Hollingrake has been MP, TPE has reduced the number of peak hour services running to and from Malton, prices have increased significantly, and there is absolutely no join up between bus and train services (try travelling from Pickering to Leeds to arrive in time for a 9am start and see how long it takes you).

Kevin has and continues to let down the people of Ryedale who need access to the job markets in Leeds, York and Scarborough.

Boris Johnson claims he cares about the north; it’s now time Kevin proves that the talk of care is genuine and takes action to improve train services and the inter connectivity of public transport for Ryedale - let’s follow up in a year and see what’s changed.

David Beeson, Pickering