Hiding speed cops should come out of the bushes, says Askrigg resident

By Betsy Everett

Police had adopted “a deceptive attitude” by hiding behind bushes and in gateways to catch speeding motorists, Askrigg and Low Abbotside parish council has been told.

They had concealed themselves in the entrance to the vets’ surgery and the Yorebridge centre at the west end of the town, said resident Kate Empsall.

“It’s a very deceptive attitude. They should be in full view and should not be hiding,” she said.
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Councillor Allen Kirkbride disagreed. “It’s not the police who shouldn’t be hiding it’s the motorists who shouldn’t be speeding,” he said. Chairman Bruce Fawcett agreed.

But Councillor Martyn Alderson said it should not be about catching motorists out, but about deterring them.

“You should be able to see the police van as you approach. If you see it and slow down then it’s done its job. Otherwise it’s just a money-making thing,” he added.

Mrs Empsall said part of the problem with speeding vehicles was the difference in speed limits on the road between Askrigg and Bainbridge. Presently there were three: 30, 40 and – for a small section – 60 miles per hour, before entering Askrigg where it dropped back to 30. Members agreed to write to the highways department of the county council and ask for a consistent 30mph limit on the road through and between the two villages.

Boundary Commission – Fears that Low Abbotside would not remain with Askrigg in the redrawing of ward boundaries, as had originally been proposed, had been allayed by Councillor Yvonne Peacock, leader of Richmondshire District Council and ward councillor for Addlebrough. “She has assured us we have no need to worry and that Low Abbotside will stay with Askrigg,” said parish clerk, Karen Lynch.

Sunday tea. – Members supported a request from a resident, Joanne Jones, to site her mobile café, On the Hoof, in the Market Square on Sunday afternoons from 2-4pm, to serve soup and a roll, and tea and coffee. “People ask where can we get a cup of tea but when there’s nothing open in the village they tend to go to Leyburn instead and that’s such a shame. It won’t be interfering with any other business and of course it will be weather dependent,” said Mrs Jones, who already operates a service in Hawes. Members agreed unanimously and wished her well.

Public toilets. – Councillor James Hodgson reported that the village hall committee had agreed that the disabled toilet in the village should in future be made available for general public use. It would need “a bit of work,” including some tiling, as part of a general refurbishment of the hall, and the toilets within the hall would then no longer be for public use. “It is not the job of the village hall committee to provide public toilets for the community,” he said. Once the work had been completed the hall committee would seek funds to maintain it and would consider the installation of an honesty box. The toilets in the hall, currently available to the public 365 days of the year, 24 hours a day, would eventually be available only for those who rented the hall. Members agreed to support the recommendation that the disabled toilet be used as the public toilets for the community.

The green. – Mowing of the village green would in future be put out to tender at the beginning of March next year, members agreed. Mr Fawcett said the cheapest tender would not necessarily be accepted, but the one offering best value for money. Mr Kirkbride said the current contractor, Keith Boddy, did a good job and the grass was always very well cut. Meanwhile the flower tubs in the village had been a great success and thanks should be expressed to those who watered them regularly and kept them tidy.

Handbells practice. – The handbell ringers whose practice coincides with the meeting of the parish council should not be asked to change their practice time, said Mr Hodgson, even though one resident claimed it was a distraction. The clerk agreed to look instead at changing the dates on which the council meets.