‘Every square inch’ of national park represented under new rules, says chief executive

Socially distant: Bainbridge parish councillors, left to right, Darren Percival, Brian Brown, Thomas Tennant and James Peacock.

By Betsy Everett

Claims by Bainbridge Parish Council that the reduction in membership of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority would be unfair and lead to poor local representation will be put to the authority, the council has been told.

However, in a letter responding to the claims, David Butterworth, chief executive of the authority, added that “every square inch and every individual within the national park is represented on the board, through county, district and parish appointments”.

Where apparent discrepancies between parishes arose, this was only because the district council had appointed a member whose ward covered a particular part of the park, he added.

Councillor Yvonne Peacock expressed concern at the parish council’s annual meeting that with only two representatives for Richmondshire the local community would see decisions taken that would affect their everyday lives without input into those decisions.

“This is not democracy. So many times in the past the planning committee has gone against the parish council’s wishes, and this will happen more and more,” she said.

National park chief executive David Butterworth.

James Peacock was elected chair of the council, as Brian Brown stood down, and Darren Percival vice chair.

The legality of recording, tweeting and videoing parish council meetings was questioned by a member of the public at the meeting.

“Considering what’s gone on in other parish council meetings, I think it’s a good thing. I’m not arguing with it. I just want to know what the legal position is,” said David Ballinger.

Cllr Peacock told the meeting that it was helpful for people to know if it was being recorded so that people who attended could “be prepared.”

The meeting was recorded by the press.

Cllr Percival questioned why people were allowed to carry out mechanical work on cars which they parked outside the village hall, taking up valuable parking spaces.

“I see people jacking the vehicles up, taking the wheels off, and doing all kinds of repairs. Is this legal on the highway? I don’t know but I think we need to find out.”

Mrs Peacock said: “We normally live and let live in this village, but sometimes these vehicles can take up two or three spaces.” She told members she would investigate the legalities. If vehicles were subject to a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) then it was not lawful for them to be parked on the highway, members were told.

Cllr Percival was commenting on proposals suggested by Ian Beighton of the highways department of North Yorkshire County Council for creating disabled access to the village hall. One space would be lost. Members voted for this as one of four possible solutions.

The visit of Richmondshire MP Rishi Sunak, due to take place in March, had had to be postponed because of his government commitments, but the council hoped  to reschedule for early next year.

Convoys of motor cyclists and “safari groups” of four-by-four vehicles were racing through the area above Semerwater, said Mr Ballinger.

There were frequently as many as 20 motor cyclist and nine or ten heavy vehicles, churning up the bridleway from Countersett to Burtersett.

“It’s the sheer numbers that cause a problem, and although some may be cautioned it really doesn’t make any difference,” he said.

Members agreed to ask the national park authority to monitor the activities of motorcyclists and drivers on a Sunday to discourage them.

The parish council had written to the authority to support the Dark Skies initiative, although members expressed concern that it could affect many planning decisions in the future.

Members heard that people would have their say on plans for changing the traffic flow in Hawes under the government’s safer roads fund. Mrs Peacock said the consultation was genuine: people’s views would be taken into account.

“People need to make their views known. Don’t just say you don’t want any of it, say exactly what you do want: you can say you’re not in favour of the traffic lights, but do want the resurfacing, for example. There’s a map in the community office [in Hawes].

“Give your name and address there, or just email me. It’s a genuine consultation exercise,” she said.

The next meeting of the parish council will be on Tuesday, September 1, possibly in Sycamore Hall.