David Winpenny writes a letter to Santa.
For Christmas in Ripon, please may we have:
A pedestrianised Market Square. As you’ll probably find when you’re around on Christmas Eve, it’s not always easy for pedestrians to get around the place, what with traffic whizzing around three sides and parked cars taking up half the space. Good luck landing the sleigh – Rudolph may get a bit tired going round and round the Square waiting for an empty space – just try to make sure you don’t block the traffic by queuing along Queen Street!
Better parking. If you could stretch to a Park and Ride scheme, preferably from either the old Cattle Market site or from the Racecourse, that would be very nice. And would the elves be able to plan a bus route for the Park and Ride (it only needs a Dinky-sized bus, not a Tonka) so that it would also serve the main tourist sites in the centre – Cathedral, Museums, Spa Gardens, Thorpe Prebend House etc? That would be a big help!
Motorists who obey the speed limits. Yes, this is a rather a difficult one, but don’t you think it would make Ripon much safer? You don’t need to provide any of those speed bumps (they were all the rage a few years ago, you’ll remember; no doubt your sack was bulging with them then) but fashions change, as you’ll know. Much better if you could change the mind-set of people who think the roads are entirely at their disposal to go at any speed and in any manner they want (an alternative would be to vastly increase the number of police to catch offenders, but you’d probably need to talk to Mr Brown in Downing Street about that – good luck!). And while you’re about it, how about removing some of the traffic lights? You usually give things rather than take them away, of course, but you could make an exception, perhaps. As you’ve already delivered presents a fortnight ago in Holland, you’ll have seen that they’ve already started to take traffic signals away. The traffic moves more cautiously, more slowly and therefore more safely, doesn’t it? Much better for reindeer-drawn vehicles.
Buses and trains. Sorry, still on transport. It was really kind of you to give us the number 36 bus, which we really like – it’s bright, shiny and fast, and gets us to Harrogate and Leeds very efficiently. Thank you! But if you could see your way to doing the same with the route to York, you’d really help a lot of people – not just people in Ripon who want to get to York in decent time, rather than on the picturesque villages route we now have, but the many visitors to York who’d come to Ripon if they could easily get here and back in a day by public transport. Unless you could rent out the sleigh on the route . . . And we’d like a railway, too, please – we know it might take some time for you to get a train set together for us, but please try!
A cinema and a hotel. You used to give us Meccano and Bayko sets (does anyone remember Bayko these days?) and Lego bricks so we could build things ourselves, but these days, what with the cost of land and all those building regulations, we have to rely on other people. So you might be able to persuade one of those entrepreneurs (you must meet lots of them when they visit Lapland to try to interest you in their goods for next Christmas) that Ripon would be a good place to invest in a cinema and a nice hotel – but not a cheap motel on the by-pass, please. Both of them would help us a lot!
Visionary councillors. Yes, it’s a bit cheeky, this one, but we’d really like to see a bit more enthusiasm among our councillors at all levels of local government. You’re such a jolly chap that it must be a bit depressing for you when you see them arguing among themselves and not getting on with the job of making the place better for all of us. Just buck them up a bit, if you would, and help them to see that Ripon is a good place to live, and that, with their help, it could be even better!
That’s all for this year, Santa. We promise to be as good as we can be, and we are really looking forward to seeing what you can cram into our stocking next week. We’ll leave you a glass of sherry and a carrot for Rudolph, as usual.
Thank you very much, and a very happy Christmas!
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