Christmas celebrations will be held in Middleham this year, Middleham Town Council decided at its last meeting.
The events which were not held in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions will return with a carol service and lighting ceremony, a children’s grotto and seniors’ Christmas lunch as well as the provision of a Christmas tree.
Casual vacancy. – Gratitude was expressed for Martin Cade’s contribution to the community as a councillor and school governor.
A draft notice was approved for publication seeking written applications for the council vacancy to be filled by co-option at the next meeting when the applicants will be invited to make a short presentation.
Councillors Sue Fairhurst and Honor Byford had reviewed the current annual schedule of ten council meetings. They had concluded that some actions might progress more quickly if there were longer intervals with the clerk spending less time servicing meetings. They will circulate for consideration a revised schedule of seven meetings each year.
Land maintenance. – The clerk was asked to inform North Yorkshire County Council that the drain clearing lorry could now access the site in Park Lane. It was hoped that the drain could be cleared before winter.
It was noted that that sandbags outside Westwood House needed to be replaced. During a meeting with the county council’s highways representative it had been concluded that it was not practicable to erect a bund near the property as that would constitute a trip hazard.
Richmondshire District Council had asked if more litter bins were required. It was agreed to request a combined general and recycling waste bin to be located by the school.
Bench seats. An inspection of the older but serviceable benches had shown that they might not easily be repaired for moving and re-use. It was agreed to obtain an estimate for repairs as the work was beyond the scope of volunteers and see if grant funding was available.
Councillors Fairhurst and Byford will look at potential new locations and how these could help to create a walking route within Middleham.
Slippery surfaces. – Cllr Byford had informed the county council about further incidents where horses had slipped on the road surfaces.
Biodiversity group. – The council had received a written report from Lower Wensleydale Biodiversity Action Group regarding planting and the removal, for recycling, of plastic tree guards. There was also a request to plant willow trees near Pinkers Pond. The council asked for further information including how the trees would impact upon the view at the popular location.
Burial ground. – There will not be a formal opening ceremony of the new burial ground but its availability will be advertised. The council was told that the draft rules and scale of charges were being finalised.
Playing field. – Middleham Sports and Community Wellbeing Association’s committee reported that it was looking at installing electricity to the storage barn and the new cricket nets to power the bowling machine.
The storage shed was almost complete and the skate park looked much neater after a recent tidy. The council was happy for the Association’s committee to decide on the routing of additional concrete slabs in front of the pavilion and possibly as far as the footpath gate to the meadow.
Council discussed the new equipment proposed by the play area subcommittee. Council reviewed the funding request submitted by the sub-committee for £4,740.24 plus reclaimable VAT, noting that funding totalling £41,750 had been secured from other sources.
Notwithstanding the success of the funding streams secured, the requested sum was, proportionately, significant in the context of the Council’s annual precept of £12,000 and the Inhabitant Householder charity’s expected annual income.
The councillors were also concerned that there would be significant on-going running costs for the parish council.
It was agreed to hold a meeting with the proposed supplier and the sub-committee to make further enquiries so the proposal would be considered at the next council meeting and to enable consultation with the wider community
Next meeting. – Is in the Key Centre at 7pm on Wednesday, November 24.