Hawes could “lose its identity” under unitary authority proposals says council

Hawes market place.

By Betsy Everett

If plans by Yorkshire County Council for a “giant unitary authority” are given the go ahead by the government, the parish of Hawes and High Abbotside would lose its identity, said council chair Jill McMullon.

“I doubt if a lot of people involved [in the proposals] will even know where Hawes is. We get little enough now, but we’ll get even less under the enormous single authority the county council is proposing,” she told members at their December meeting, the first to be held via Zoom.

This was why, she said, Richmondshire District Council had joined other district councils in submitting a rival proposal for an east-west split.

“It is important that we keep some kind of localism. If it becomes one giant authority we will be lost. But in the end it’s the government that will decide, not us,” she added.

Cllr Yvonne Peacock.

Highways. – Cllr McMullon reminded members that plans for major work in the parish under the government’s Safer Road scheme had been largely rejected following a public consultation in the summer. County councillor Yvonne Peacock had prepared a report for the parish council in which she said the main road through the town centre, including the parking area, would be resurfaced from the school to the health centre. Traffic lights would be installed at Appersett , but plans for a one-way system through Burtersett had been withdrawn by the highways authority following objections from the parish council. Instead the highways department would consult local farmers about better signage to both entrances to the village. She had also referred to the flooding at Beckstones, Gayle, near the bridge, and at Appersett. Cllr McMullon proposed a small working group be set up by the parish council to discuss the flooding at Appersett with residents and also address flooding issues elsewhere in the parish.

Meanwhile the highways authority had told the parish council that cleaning of ditches was not their responsibility, but that of the landowners.

Precept. – The clerk reported that the precept [collected through council tax bills by Richmondshire District Council on behalf of parish councils] had been set at £17,500. The parish council would not be requesting more said Cllr McMullon, as “people have been through enough this year.”

Motorbikes. – Garsdale parish council had set up an action group to tackle the problem of speeding motorcyclists, said the chair. They had written to their MP, county council officers and other parishes to enlist their support. “They can’t stop them coming through the village of course, but they are very upset at the speeds. We have our own story to tell about bikers in Hawes, of course, so it would be good to get together to see what can be done.”

Councillor Yurek Waluda said he would be happy to represent Hawes and High Abbotside at a meeting of the action group and members agreed.

Planning. – Members agreed to support a planning application to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority from the Upper Wensleydale Sports and Recreational Association, who run the community field, for permission to convert a barn by Brunt Acres Road to community use, following refusal by the authority late last year to allow a new pavilion to be built. Toilets and a kitchen match-hatch facility were planned, and they were also asking for change of use of agricultural land to community use to allow repositioning of the football pitch. “They’ve been through the mill with various planning applications and I think they deserve our 100 per cent support on this,” said Cllr McMullon. Members agreed.

Next meeting. – Would probably be fixed for late January and possibly by Zoom once again.