Askrigg resident tells council she is “impressed” with health consultation

By Betsy Everett

Askrigg resident Ruth Annison has told Askrigg and Low Abbotside parish council that she had been to the Better Health Programme event in Hawes to discuss the future of the NHS in Darlington, Durham and Teesside and been “very impressed” with what she heard.

It was the third such event she had attended and felt officials were “listening and taking note” of concerns expressed by the public, especially in relation to early, inconvenient hospital appointments.

“Often when booking appointments for people from the upper Dales receptionists and other staff may not realise exactly how far we have to travel, especially as we have DL [Darlington] postcodes.

There was a suggestion of postcode maps being provided to the hospitals and it was stressed that if people do have a problem with appointments at awkward times they have a right to ask that it be changed,” she told members.

District councillor, Yvonne Peacock, said she had been encouraged by new and improved facilities at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.

The new MRI scanner had been installed and more consultants were coming down to the hospital. Friends of the Friarage had recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and Cllr Peacock urged the public to keep supporting the excellent work that was being done there.

“What they have there now is working really well. There seems to be nothing but good news but we must not get complacent.” Members agreed this was very positive but said there was still concern about the Darlington Memorial Hospital and the possible closure of the A&E department there.

New shop. – A new shop, Askrigg Antiques and Collectables, had been opened by Danny Metcalfe in the Askrigg Foundation premises in Market Square and was already proving popular. A small space within the unit had been prepared as an office for the parish council, and an information centre for visitors. The aim was to make the parish council more visible and accessible to anyone who wanted to call in with a query, complaint or observation.

The newly-opened antiques and collectibles shop in Askrigg Market Place

Speeding. – Resident Joanne Jones said she had moved from the West End of the village to live on the main road and that she “feared for the life” of an elderly resident nearby. “I can see the road from my kitchen window and it’s scary how fast some of them go. They fly around that corner and it’s terrifying. I just hope the next time this is discussed it is not because there has been a fatality,” she said. Deputy chairman Cllr Bruce Fawcett urged Mrs Jones to take the registration number of speeding vehicles and dial 101 to report them to the police. Clerk to the council, Karen Lynch, said she had contacted Sgt Stewart Grainger of North Yorkshire Police and they had agreed a speed unit would come to the village to do checks. She hoped they might once again work with children at the school who had been present at earlier checks and had spoken to the about the dangers when they were pulled over by police. “It seemed to be very effective,” said Mrs Lynch.

Common land. – Cllr Kirkbride said letters that had gone out to some residents from North Yorkshire County Council had caused some confusion but the aim was simply to get an up to date register of residents whose properties enjoyed rights to cut peat and gather stones on Askrigg Moor. The rights were assigned to the property, not the owner, but because the Moor was now registered as an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) residents had to give six weeks notice to Natural England if they wanted to exercise those rights. Cllr Kirkbride urged residents not to ignore the letters but to reply with updated details of the current occupants.

Church clock. – The replacement of the clock in the church tower following extensive repairs had been delayed because of bad weather. It was expected the work would be completed by the end of March.

Date of next meeting. – Thursday, May 18, at 7.30pm in the village hall.