Aysgarth councillors call for retention of Bishopdale payphone

Bishopdale payphone. Photo: Pip Pointon.

Retaining public payphones could make the difference between life and death in a rural dale, Aysgarth and District Parish Council agreed at its last meeting.

It approved the  following response to the BT consultation: “The parish council strongly oppose any removal of public payphone boxes in the Aysgarth and District Parish, on the grounds that there is a social need for their retention; on the basis that mobile signals are problematical in these areas and that defibrillators require the ability to call 999 to obtain the access code and the absence of a mobile signal will render the defibrillators inoperable.”

A councillor pointed out that in Bishopdale there was very limited mobile phone access and added: “We are a dale that has had over the years very serious road accidents and we need to be able to access the emergency services.  This could be a matter of life or death.”

Another councillor stated that it was not surprising that the public payphones in such dales had not been used – not only because there had been far less visitors due to the pandemic lockdowns but also because BT had not provided any cleansing facilities.

He explained: “Public telephone boxes are really a no go area to the public for fear of catching a virus by being enclosed in a very small area and by the use of a telephone handset which has been so close to others mouths and hands.”

Dangerous tree. – It was agreed that a diseased ash tree in Aysgarth is now dangerous and should be removed, and that its location east of the old Methodist chapel should be clarified with North Yorkshire County Council’s Highways.

Highways  had identified two sets of trees neither being that reported by the clerk.  It was noted that two of those should also be removed as they were affected by Ash Dieback and were compromising BT overhead cables.

Aysgarth. – Cllr John Dinsdale told the meeting that due to the floods in February a length of retaining wall on the right-hand side of the A684 west of Aysgarth  had fallen away. He had previously been assured by Highways that this would be repaired. He added that bollards placed there  have recently been removed.

Councillors also asked why the area by Mill Lane and the A684 had not been overhauled as part of the layby programme as the parish council had previously been advised that this work would go ahead.

Cllr Dinsdale updated the parish council about arrangements for the maintenance of the Rock Garden including the planned installation of low stone lintel signs. He said a resident had offered to store and put out the green bin for collection providing the parish council paid for the bin.

It was agreed to ask for one, and maybe two, electric streetlights between the Doctors’ Surgery and Aysgarth Falls Hotel and for the solar powered light to be relocated to another part of Aysgarth.

Thoralby. –  It was noted that a number of wooden hand-painted signs had been erected in the village with language referring to dog fouling in an offensive manner. It was hoped the signs would be removed once a small dog-refuse bin has been ordered and local residents have been advised about that by Cllr Linda Cooper.

Cllr Cooper said that the Electricity Board contractors were supposed to return after the winter to make good the damage to the village green. Cllr Dinsdale said he would check on that.

Cllr Sandra Wilman reported that not all the potholes on the hill from Thoralby to Aysgarth had been filled in by Highways.

Bishopdale. – Cllr Margaret Jones told the meeting that the triangular flood and ice warning signs had been left  in Newbiggin for months and were dangerous as they posed a trip hazard now that grass was growing over them. The clerk will ask Highways to collect them.

The clerk was also asked to check with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) if a planning application had been received regarding digging being carried out at a farm in Bishopdale.

Thoralby Moss. – It was agreed that, as the original grazing agreement for Thoralby Moss could not be found by the solicitors, that a new one should be drawn up. This will be in line with the new Stewardship agreement and will incorporate a new rent.

Thornton Rust. – It was reported that the access to Nipe Lane, which is a right of way, had been blocked with bollards when Highways carried out its layby work recently. The parish council had  been assured that some bollards would be removed at the end of the layby programme.

The councillors expressed a number of concerns regarding the request by the Kennel  Field Trust for the parish council to  lease the field and take on the responsibility for insuring it. It was decided to discuss this again at the next meeting.

It was agreed that repairs to the Beck would be paid for from the Thornton Mire Bank Account.

Annual meeting. – At the beginning of the annual meeting councillors agreed they were satisfied with the risk assessment for returning to a face-to-face meeting.

Cllr Dinsdale was re-elected as chairman, with Cllr Robert Walker as deputy chairman., and the annual accounts were approved by the council.

Next meeting. – Will be in the upper room at Aysgarth Institute at 7.30pm on Thursday July 15.