Forest school sessions to be held in Middleham wood


Forest schools can be held in Lowlands Wood during school holidays, it was agreed at the recent virtual meeting of Middleham Town Council.

The application was made by Kathy Wheeler who confirmed that she was formally qualified as a forest school teacher and possessed appropriate insurance cover.

It was suggested that a meeting be convened with an arboriculturist to draw up a management plan for the wood and to ensure that Forest School activities, including maintenance, were compatible with care of the area.

Plantations. – The clerk said he had drafted and circulated a risk assessment and suggested that volunteer working parties might safely commence after Covid restrictions were eased on May 17. It was noted that some residents had commenced working in the Plantations.

It was agreed that a meeting should be held with Mr Robertson to define activities that working parties could undertake, following which an instruction to residents could be drafted enabling them to sign up as Friends of the Plantations volunteers.

Affordable housing. – A meeting was held on Monday April 19 with RDC’s Housing Officer and Broadacres Housing Association to explore possible collaboration with other parties to secure the redundant Methodist chapel for affordable housing.  It had outlined different routes towards this aim, which Cllr Honor Byford summarised.

Subsequently the Methodist Church had declined a request to carry out an internal feasibility inspection, which was disappointing, however the Housing Officer was exploring ways to take the proposal forward.

Play areas. – It was agreed that the Bell Tower team should paint the equipment red, yellow and green.

Mrs Wheeler had circulated the proposed design and location plan for equipment intended to provide climbing challenge and slides for those aged between six and 13-years. She hoped funding could be found so that there would not be significant financial input from the council.

She had informed the council that, due to other commitments, she could no longer run Messy Boots and another operator should be sought. It was noted that families were currently using the designated area by the skate park.

One way signs. – It was reported that the painted signs on the highway at the Springs end of the one-way system were now present but it was too early to know if these and other signs were effective.

As there incidents of vehicles entering the wrong end of the one-way road in the market square the county council will be asked to paint a sign there too.

Environment matters. – The councillors discussed several local initiatives and agreed that environmental matters were already receiving regular attention through the agreement for a moor management plan and active support for tree planting

They felt that hand-pulling weeds on verges as suggested by the Friends of the Dales was impractical. They noted that many local verges were already uncut.  They also felt that the Friends of the Earth 60-point Climate Change Plan for Councils was more appropriate for larger councils.

Events. –  Having recently organised a well-supported and successful clean-up it was agreed not to take part in the Great British Spring Clean between May 28 and June 13. A further clean-up will be organised later in the year.

North Yorkshire County Cllr Karen Sedgwick confirmed that she could provide support through the Locality budget for the Post-Lockdown Community event.

The clerk will organise a meeting of interested parties to start planning and ensure bookings of such items as the bouncy castle were made.

Lockdown arrangements. – As virtual meetings could no longer be held the council resolved that all statutory responsibilities and powers (other than where a statutory prohibition applied) may be delegated to the clerk with effect from May 7 until safe resumption of meetings in line with the Government Covid Roadmap.

At present this will allow for face to face meetings to be held after June 21. The next meeting of the council will, therefore, be on Wednesday June 23.