Difficulties contacting park officers during pandemic, meeting hears

Hawes. Photo: Nilfanion/Wikimedia.

Members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority haven’t found it easy to contact YDNPA officers during the pandemic, Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council heard at its annual meeting.

Its chairman, district councillor Jill McMullon, commented that problems with accessing information about planning applications had got worse during the pandemic.

She was very concerned about the how difficult it was to contact YDNPA officers.

North Yorkshire County councillor Yvonne Peacock agreed and said she would raise the issue at the YDNPA’s next Audit Committee meeting.

She said: “The one problem everybody has been having – even members [of the YDNPA] – is the difficulty of getting hold of officers during this Covid  – whereas it has been working well with the district and county councils. The fact that they are not at the offices shouldn’t prevent us contacting them.”

Barn application. – Gryff Thomas told the parish council that GTEC had bought three fields between Gayle Lane and Burtersett Road.  He said there was a barn in the field by Gayle Lane which GTEC had applied to convert into a four-bedroom local occupancy or short-term holiday let.

A YDNPA planning officer had questioned if there had ever been a track to it to make it eligible for conversion in accordance with the roadside barn policy. The parish council agreed to request that the application should be discussed by the planning committee.

Affordable housing. – Mr Thomas said that GTEC would like to build three to four houses on the field which is accessed from the Burtersett Road between Woodburn and the Vicarage and is within the development boundary.  These he explained would be available for local occupancy at affordable prices because he was determined to give something back to the community.

The parish council heard, however, that there were concerns about flooding on the field, and that any access onto the Burtersett Road might lead to double yellow lines being painted where some residents park.

The parish council insisted that a public consultation must be held when the planning application was submitted so that residents could have their say.

Mr Thomas agreed and said the application might not be ready for another six months. Cllr Peacock was concerned that any housing development should be completed before the roads  through Hawes were re-surfaced next Spring.

Road signs. – The council heard there have been numerous comments about the road signs recently erected at the main junction to Burtersett from the A684.  Cllr Peacock informed the council that, although these looked large,  these were the usual size for those sited on ‘A’ roads with a 60 mph speed limit. She added that NYCC Highways would re-locate the signs so that they were not so close to the road.

Cllr McMullon pointed out that  Burtersett residents  were concerned about the increased traffic flow and size of vehicles now using the road which,  in places, was extremely narrow. Cllr Peacock agreed to ask NYCC Highways to monitor traffic on that road

Highways. – Cllr Peacock said she would investigate the issue of vehicles speeding in The Holme and along Burtersett Road. She will also ask NYCC Highways if it is possible to carry out temporary repairs near Bear Cottage Interiors to prevent accidents until re-surfacing is carried out next Spring.

Cllr McMullon said she would participate in the walk around Hawes with representatives of Yorkshire Water to check where repairs were required following the company’s work in the town.

It was reported that NYCC Highways had proposed that a blue and white metal sign be placed at the northern end of Cotterdale warning drivers not to park there. It was suggested that a wooden sign would be more appropriate.

Flood warnings. – The councillors were surprised to hear that automatic flood warning signs were being installed along the A684 at prime flood-risk areas as part of the Safer Roads Project.

There will be green tanks which, when filled to a specific level with flood water, will trigger warning signs to approaching traffic. Cllr McMullon was concerned that with all the new lay-bys the area would look more urbanised. It was hoped, however, that the new system would alleviate a lot of problems.

Play park. –  It was agreed that a group should be formed to look into obtaining a grant for new play equipment from Richmondshire District Council’s new Play Park Fund.

Cllr Peter Metcalfe said he would contact a local contractor about installing new fencing and arrange for work to be carried out on a tree.

Election of officers. –  Cllr McMullon was re-elected as chairman, and Cllr Metcalfe as vice-chairman.