I READ your front page article of the 26th June and feel compelled to comment on some of the points raised by the North York Moors National Park Authority (NYMNPA) in favour of their proposed new Office/depot.

“Open and Clear” – what a joke – they arranged a viewing of their plans on the 8th May in a first-floor room at the Meeting House in Helmsley with NO access for the infirm or disabled.

Later they are quoted - as the lack of access for disabled people to the Old Vicarage was “a constant source of embarrassment” but obviously not enough to ensure their new proposals could be viewed by ALL. I’ve been informed by them that they had 60 people on the day – approximately 4% of the town population – perhaps it’s time for them to lose their deposit.

Bondgate headquarters had fallen into such poor condition that it was causing officers “very considerable concern” and its depot on Sawmill Lane was “beyond any sensible economic repair” – please can anyone tell me why we should trust these people to show anymore care for their new premises? We will be left with an eyesore in the middle of a residential area – I ask the question would this be allowed within the National Park boundaries?

Chair Jim Bailey is quoted as this is part of “a journey about achieving efficiency and value for money” – interesting that he see’s spending half a million pounds of what is OUR money on a piece of land, SO PLEASE tell us what alternatives were looked at? Or is there some other reason for purchasing this totally unsuitable piece of land.

Finally, Heather Moorhouse – the proposed new headquarters would be built on a very quiet site where children played in the street!! – PLEASE, PLEASE tell me this is a missquote – or have we finally seen the coming true of George Orwell’s Animal Farm – “where all animals are equal but some are more equal than others” because that’s certainly the impression that the NYMNPA give in their attitude to the residents of Riccal Drive in Helmsley.

Kevin Bradshaw, Helmsley Authority must think again We must be grateful to Cllr Jabbour for speaking out against the environmental crime which the North York Moors National Park Authority proposes to commit in its home town of Helmsley.

Their plan, as you showed on your front page 26 June, is to spend several millions of pounds of public money on a brand new headquarters building, of basic utilitarian design, on a green field site at the end of a quiet residential cul-de-sac situated outside the national park.

They currently occupy a historic building, the Old Vicarage, in the centre of Helmsley and within their own park. For a fraction of the cost of their proposed new HQ this important building could be improved and restored to give them everything they need, including all necessary environmental measures.

They could be leading by example to show the potential of prime heritage buildings. Instead they plan to build a two-storey extension to the existing building to make two houses in addition to the proposed three apartments within the existing house.

Instead of acting as a conservation body they are turning themselves into a publicly funded development company. This is not an acceptable use of tax payers’ money.

One justification offered is to have the offices and the works depot on the same site. There is no compelling reason for this.

To describe the present depot on Sawmill Lane as “beyond any sensible economic repair” is a nonsense, given the money they plan to spend on the new one.

The NYMNP has a responsibility for the national park in general and in particular to the town in which it is based. Their proposed plan is not in the best interests of the town or its residents. If the authority wishes to retain any credibility within the town they must think again.

Neil Bell, Helmsley

Site chosen is unsuitable

I TOTALLY agree with Mr Parkin that it makes sense to consolidate the operations of the NPA into one building. But I think the site chosen is unsuitable.

It is in a residential area set outside the park boundaries. Mr Parkin will not have to look at this warehouse and will not suffer from the huge increase in traffic past his front door. The cost of this new building is eye-watering.

I think there are better sites within the Park boundaries, what about Sutton Bank or on the land adjacent to the Saltergate car park, which was much cheaper than the £500,000 paid for the Riccal drive site.

What about using the existing buildings at Danby lodge , extend that for a fraction of the price, and it is in the centre of the Park. The present Headquarters is being considered for planning consent for flats, but these won’t be affordable homes for local people, no I suspect they will be expensive second homes or retirement properties bought by outsiders.

The Park’s funding from the council is being cut so that it will struggle to maintain and repair footpaths and bridleways but it seems that an obscene amount of money will be spent on this new ugly building.

If this is built in Riccal Drive it will encourage further building on the adjacent field to the detriment of residents in this area.

The NPA needs to go back to the drawing board and spend public money wisely.

W.B.Tait, Helmsley

Need to move with the times

I CAN’T see the problem with the new NP centre being in one collective site as it makes sense with workshops and stores and the office on one central site, as it is an industrial estate where they are being sited. At least it will be quite over the weekends and after 5pm, unlike some industries working round the clock. It will also have better access as the present site is unsuitable.

One needs to move with the times. The new site had always been earmarked as a light industrial site.

Jarvis Browning, Fadmoor