WE'VE delved back into our letters postbag to bring you the correspondence that really struck a chord with readers.
These are the letters which drew the most views online - and comments.
Not surprisingly, they were on the big issues of the day, from Covid restrictions and how the government has handled the pandemic, to the prospect of Brexit. Local issues loomed large too, including the future of our high street and much loved institutions such as Barnitts.
Traffic restrictions in The Groves filled the letters inbox for weeks - as did the controversy over charging the over-75s for their BBC licence fee.
Here's another look at some of our most popular letters of the year....

"When will remoaners take responsibility for results of their actions?"

York Press: Brexit was a hot topic this yearBrexit was a hot topic this year

December 14
AS we appear to be approaching the much vaunted “disastrous cliff edge” scenario, perhaps we should ask ourselves: “How did we get to this?”
Part of the answer might, in part, lie in another question.
Has there ever been anything so divisive as the 2016 EU referendum?
I remember the first referendum to join the “Common market” in 1975 and I remember that I voted yes.
In the days following the result I do not remember a concerted campaign to overturn or even, simply ignore the result, by the opponents of the result.
But, here we are, over four years since the Leave-Remain debate and with the date of our exit from membership from the EU only days away, if anything, the obduracy of both sides seems as entrenched as ever. And the amount of abuse that is manifest across the airways and in print, particularly by the ‘losing’ Remain voters, shows little sign of abating.
In the coming months and years in post-EU UK, will we be residing in the Elysian fields or the Slough of Despond? If it be the latter, then should the Remain campaigners bear the majority of the responsibility?
The four year campaign by disaffected Remain voters, with calls to void the result altogether, or at least have a re-run, is obviously a lesson well learned by the Trump election managers. Even at this date the likes of Sir Ed Davey simply refuse to accept the result and openly claim that they will seek to reverse the decision, at the earliest opportunity.
Do they really believe that these campaigns have gone unnoticed in Brussels and beyond?
And when oh when, will they take ownership of their actions and ultimately, the negative results of their campaigns?
Malcolm J Glover
Lindsey Ave,

"One rule for Barnitts - another for Spark"

York Press: The future of Barnitts was discussed at length tooThe future of Barnitts was discussed at length too

November 14
IN deferring a planning application to redevelop its store one councillor is reported saying “we can’t ignore policy just because it’s Barnitts".
Why not? That is exactly what happened with Spark. A myriad of local and national planning policies were set aside to show extraordinary special favour to one particular applicant.
Matthew Laverack,
Laverack Associates Architects,
Lord Mayor's Walk, York

"Unthinkable we lose Barnitts - 'we have everything shop'."
November 21
...I FOLLOW with interest the case of Barnitts' application for planning permission to convert part of its premises and the problems they face regarding supplying some of the apartments as affordable housing.
Paul Thompson of Barnitts states that this development is financially crucial to the future survival of the shop. It is unthinkable that we lose this iconic and wonderful centre of excellence that is a huge part of York's real character, most of which has been lost in the name of tourism. No doubt restaurants and cafes would replace this "we have everything" shop.
I wholeheartedly agree with Matthew Laverack who reminds us of how Spark York has flouted planning permissions without penalty, even being encouraged to continue trading.
But I would like to add another example. How many affordable homes were provided in the St Leonard's " Millionaire's Row" development? Or is that ok as the council desperately needed to sell the property after the original prospective buyers, a hotel group backed out after Lendal Bridge was re-opened?
D McTernan,

Computer says "no" in attempt to buy 75+ TV licence
York Press: Changes to the TV licence for over-75s proved controversialChanges to the TV licence for over-75s proved controversial
October 25
I SMILED (briefly), after reading Natasha Lee’s recent letter: “It's easy for pensioners to apply for TV licence”. Just you try and get one - I have been trying since the beginning of August.
I have now returned a total of three application forms to TV Licencing Ltd for a 75+ Plan licence.
The response shortly after each one was sent, was a template letter informing me that “We’ve not been able to take your latest TV licence payment as there is a problem with the Direct Debit mandate”.
In desperation I finally phoned TVL Customer Services and was informed that due to the unexpectedly high demand for applications (did they not know how many 75+ year old persons live in this country?), they are at least two months behind processing them. Meanwhile, their computer system is programmed to automatically send out these disturbing reminders that “We’ve not received your TV Licence payment”. Obviously the computer sending out the reminders is not aware that the request for a new licence is still yet to be processed. The advice from their helpful Customer Service representative was to ignore ALL the reminders.
Presumably, I am now breaking the law by viewing without a licence. Will the Press readers please organise a petition to have me released when I start my prison sentence?
Trevor Illingworth,
Etive Place,

"York has itself to blame for the new tier 2 restrictions"
York Press: Our ohoto shows York busy again after lockdownOur ohoto shows York busy again after lockdown
October 17
THE Covid level going up to tier two was just a formality and totally expected.
Anyone venturing into York over the last couple of weeks would be aware of the influx of Scottish tourists "the autumn school holidays", a large number of scouse accents "holidaying away from Covid-19 infection", groups of hen and stag parties still using York because of it's then low Covid level and the influx of university students.
York has "sown the wind and now it will reap the whirlwind" as far as the open door policy to tourism.
D M Deamer
Penleys Grove Street,

Scenes at The Groves "like a Harry Hill sketch"
York Press: Driving in The Groves was likened to a Harry Hill sketch!Driving in The Groves was likened to a Harry Hill sketch!
September 5
THE closure of Penleys Grove Street to all motorists (other than for access) and the ramifications to vehicles and drivers highlights many shortcomings of many motorists.
The scenes of drivers trying to manoeuvre are worthy of a Benny Hill or Harry Hill sketch and highlights the inability of a large number of people to reverse competently.
The road closures have been well reported in The Press and by other media and the closure is shown on electronic notice boards and there are two large signs stating the road closures.
I wonder if these 'observant drivers' observe pedestrians and people on bikes?
D M Deamer,
Penleys Grove Street,
Monkgate, York

...THE ugly concrete blocks now dividing up areas of The Groves hardly promote social or visual harmony and residents face extended journeys to their homes, simply causing more air pollution elsewhere. Many older or vulnerable residents cannot cycle or walk and have to depend on taxis.
Why not use enforcement cameras to allow access to residents, taxis and the emergency services avoiding the need for ugly physical barriers and bigger traffic jams elsewhere?
Tina Anderson
Garden Street,
The Groves, York

...THE hypocrisy of council transport leader Andy D’Agorne knows no bounds.
He says that the closure of roads in the Groves area will strengthen community spirit, yet his car-hating policies are deliberately alienating motorists. What a disgrace.
Geoff Robb,
Hunters Close,

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