SIR: Surely readers’ hearts must go out to Mrs Syms, after the decision by the Planning Committee to authorise HGVs to use Stakes Lane off the B2177 and build an impact making storage facility within the National Park (Chronicle, Letters, September 2).

So much for the virtue signalling by the city council in declaring a “Climate Emergency” and producing a paper in which the first chapter addresses transport and the need to reduce carbon emissions here! Sadly, living in the countryside we are all only too aware of climate change.

It appears this decision was made following a report from the Highways Department that the proposal was not a problem and there were no safety issues. This highlights the muddle in our two-tier system of local government. The Highways Department belong to HCC and not the district committee. It would be brave for the Committee to overrule Highways in the normal course of events, but this problem is more nuanced. The Highways official reported no danger, but the people who live nearby on the B2177 fear that an accident will occur. There is a lack of consistency as the road is marked unsuitable for HGVs, yet Highways say that is not important. Both parish councils spoke against the proposal and were overruled following an inaccurate statement by the applicant’s agent. The final decision was five to four, so a better understanding of the issues might have led a different outcome.

Chaos like this leads one to wonder if it is not time to do away with the two-tier structure; it clearly is not working in a number of ways. My own councillor tells me that this problem has been going on for years – yet nothing has ever been done. Time, perhaps, to abolish the district level and beef up the parish councils. They are the ones with the local knowledge and are more easily accessible to citizens; this would be a true return to local democracy lost with the demise of the Droxford Rural District Council some years ago.

David W Carter,

Ashton Lane,

Bishop’s Waltham