A little local trouble A weekly round-up of rural rows

Do we really want ever-closer ties with the other members of the European Union? Not in Scalby and Newby, near Scarborough - at least not if the Royal Mail has its say. The problem began after the villages gave a traditional red phone box to their twin town, Pornic, in France. Gratefully received, the kiosk now houses a payphone. When the French reciprocated with a classic yellow letterbox, however, British post-office officials said "Non" to the idea of using it.

"We have recently invested, and continue to invest, a great deal of resources in upgrading all posting facilities to represent a national identity which reflects our national heritage," a Royal Mail spokesperson said this week. "Foreign post boxes for public use would dilute this effect." There would be no objection, she added, to erecting the box if sealed. Vive l'entente cordiale!

Elsewhere in Yorkshire: Townies Innocent Of Destroying Rural Life Shock. The picturesque village of Egton on the North York Moors had supposedly been facing a familiar problem: rich outsiders buying weekend homes, pushing up prices and forcing the natives out. So the parish council set up a scheme to build five low-cost houses for locals. The trouble is no one wants them.

"People kept telling us they wanted these houses," the council's chairman, Tom Hutton, told the Yorkshire Post. "But where are these people now?" Unless five genuine Egtonite buyers are found soon, the pounds 300,000 project will be scrapped.

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