By Betsy Everett
Playgrounds in Hawes and High Abbotside could be opened up to adults who want to keep fit and healthy, with special equipment installed for their use, the parish council has agreed.
Council chair, Jill McMullon, said that councils elsewhere in the country had provided facilities for older people, such as parents and grandparents.
She told fellow councillors at their December meeting: “Some of you may laugh at this but I actually thought it was a jolly good idea now there is so much emphasis on health and fitness. Rather than just being for children it might be good to get something like that put into our play parks.”
Councillors agreed that in the new year they would write to the local school to ask for children’s ideas on what might be included.
Members also heard that the directors of the Upper Dales Community Partnership had been “very amenable” to renaming the community office after the late John Blackie, who died in July, and had agreed to take forward the idea. Cllr McMullon said it had been the most popular suggestion put forward by visitors to the centre when views were sought on a suitable memorial. There would also be a sandstone memorial to the late district and county councillor on the mound near the entrance to the community garage.
The chair reminded members that BT wanted to remove pay ’phones in rural areas because they were under-used. There had been a well-documented challenge to BT to keep pay ’phones in rural areas. “I think some young person looks at statistics on a computer, and just sees how often they are used, but they don’t realise how invaluable they can be in rural areas where the mobile signal can be poor and reception is not good,” she said. District and county councillor Yvonne Peacock said Richmondshire District Council had agreed that all pay phones in the area should be retained.
Speaking of a planning application for a news sports pavilion, Ruth Annison, transport campaigner and owner of Outhwaite Ropemakers, Hawes, said while everyone supported the pavilion to be built on the community field, she was concerned about the proposed access for vehicles and pedestrians. The planned route would run across the old railway track bed and would be contrary to national park policies which protected the former strategic railway route through Wensleydale.
“The opportunity to reinstate the former railway comes at a time of global concern about climate change. . . Any threat now to the reinstatement of the railway would seem to undermine the the YDNPA’s well-known philosophy in seeking to increase non-car access to the national park,” Mrs Annison wrote in a submission to the authority which she passed to the council.
Ben Adams, representing trustees of the Upper Wensleydale Sports and Recreational Association (UWSRA), said while they supported the Upper Wensleydale Railway’s ambitions, they did not want anything to delay the building of the pavilion. Mrs Annison said with members of the UWR team and the UWSRA trustees working together she thought a satisfactory compromise could be reached whereby “we would get our railway, and the building of the pavilion would not be unduly delayed.”
The chair said there were three vacancies on the council to be filled by co-options, and they would be advertised. There had been two applications and an expression of interest and the council was “very keen” to fill them.
The process would be the same as previously which had been agreed with Richmondshire District Council who had described it as “excellent,” she said.
Clerk Fran Cartwright said an email had been received from the district council asking if the parish council would welcome a visit from council leader Angie Dale and deputy leader Helen Grant. Said Cllr McMullon: “No thank you. We can manage perfectly well on our own.”
Councillor Sheila Alderson said the Beelah Bank footpath was being regularly soiled by geese. Resident Richard Noble said he believed they were being fed “deliberately near the path” with “malice aforethought.” Cllr Alderson said old people, children, and parents with pushchairs faced particular problems with the soiled path which is on the Pennine Way. Members agreed to write to the national park authority pointing out it was a health and safety hazard and asking for their support.
Date of next meeting: Monday, February 3, at 7.15pm in Gayle Institute.