Cuts in cleaning services are not our fault says Hawes parish council

Clerk to the council Fran Cartwright and Mr Blackie.

By Betsy Everett

Visitors to Hawes will be asked to complain to the town’s community office if the public toilets are found to be dirty, following cuts to cleaning services, Hawes and High Abbotside parish council has ruled.

A note will be placed on the door of the toilets at Penny Garth absolving the cleaners of any blame and inviting complaints which would then be passed on to Richmondshire district council who have ordered cuts in cleaning services and levied a 20 pence charge.

“What council would start charging to use the toilets and then cut the cleaning services? It is being done without any consultation and as a parish council we should not have to carry the blame,” said chairman John Blackie. “My mother would never go back to Great Yarmouth because of the state of the toilets.”
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Meanwhile street caretaker Nigel Ellis would no longer be based full-time in Hawes but would be part of a team required to report each day to Richmond to have their work assigned, and the streets were getting “a minuscule fraction” of the attention they had, Mr Blackie added.

“Nigel won’t ever be based in Hawes again. Instead he has to drive each day to Richmond to find out where his duties are. He and his team are very concerned they are being pulled in every direction.”

Councillors agreed to complain to Richmondshire district council about the further reduction in services being imposed without consultation.

Meanwhile the district council also came under fire for refusing to change failed £10 light bulbs in three heritage street lamps in Gayle, replacing them instead with completely new LED lamps at a cost of £550 each. And an infestation of rats in Hardraw Beck and Gayle Beck near Dyers Garth had incurred a charge of £590, which Mr Blackie said the parish council had been forced to pay, but “under protest.”

Councillor Tony Fawcett said he had had to pay £450 to get rid of rats on his farm but the problem had to be dealt with. The district council had the means of a good rat poison that killed them immediately and was very effective.

Councillor Stewart Hunter said there were so many rats in the Dale, that “the minute you get rid of them in one place they will appear somewhere else. It’s a fact of life here,” he said.

At the suggestion of  Mr Fawcett, members agreed to write to Richmondshire MP Rishi Sunak to express concerns about proposals for the police and crime commissioner, Julia Mulligan, to take control of the fire and rescue service. It was a government-led initiative which would incur savings but would reduce the number of senior fire service staff, said Mr Blackie.

“Fifty-five minutes is standard time for police attendance at an incident and the 101 number doesn’t get answered. That’s the sort of response we’d get for a fire engine from a police commissioner who doesn’t have a grip of how poor the police are and how good the fire service is,” he added.

The council would also write to the Gayle Young Mothers group thanking them for raising £1,200 for the zip wire in the Bealah Bank play area.  It had been “a huge success” said Mr Blackie and was well used by everyone.

Government money was available through a dangerous roads scheme, of which the A684 from Leeming Bar to Kendal, passing through Hawes, was deemed to be among the top fifty. North Yorkshire County Council were consulting with the parish council and there was a possibility of creating a paved area for pedestrians along the shop frontages from Penny Garth Café to Café Curva. This would stop people parking motor cycles right up to the shops and create a safe area for people to walk.

The search for a mystery man who had tried to reserve a plot in the council burial ground in Old Gayle Lane had failed to establish a local connection, despite extensive searches of school records, and personal enquiries. It was discovered he was living elsewhere, under a different name, but had previously lived in Hawes and so was accepted as a potential occupant of the plot.

The carved wooden shepherd on the green opposite the health centre “did not survive” the midsummer bash, when a number of drunken revellers took selfies with him and eventually toppled him to the ground causing irreversible damage, said the chairman.

Mr Ward said a metal worker from Market Weighton who had recently bought a property in the town had offered to make a seven foot tall replacement shepherd, accompanied by a dog and sheep. He would do it free of charge but requested a plaque with the name of his business to acknowledge the gift. Members agreed and expressed their thanks. 

Kate Jump had been appointed as the new upper Dales community land trust officer to create the trust which would oversee the community-led housing scheme providing affordable housing for rent. The cost of £15,000 for the first year was being met by Richmondshire District Council from a government fund.

Francesca Cartwright of Aysgarth was introduced as the new parish clerk and Yurek Waluda as a new parish councillor, co-opted at the July meeting to replace Debbie Allen. Mr Blackie said one more councillor would be welcome especially a younger person who would lower the overall age profile.