Middleham councillors discuss youth group plans

Middleham Market Place.

Plans for starting a youth group were discussed by Middleham Town Council at its September meeting.

Mrs Edwina Anderson from North Yorkshire Youth spoke of plans for starting a youth group initially in the sports pavilion and possibly also in the Key Centre on darker evenings.

This initiative was welcomed by the council and Cllr Nigel Hopper said Middleham Sports and Community Wellbeing Association would be fully supportive.

Road surfaces. – Cllr Honor Byford reported on the frequency of recent incidents where horses had slipped on road surfaces. She said a young person had been hurt and that such serious injuries required an appropriate response from North Yorkshire County Council Highways.

She said Highways had an obligation to maintain a suitable surface for all users, requesting that verges be cut, to allow safer passage on some sections, and jet washing of surfaces.  She added that some of the work undertaken by Highways, such as surface dusting, had been successful.

In reply North Yorkshire County Cllr Sedgwick stated that the county council was working in line with its statutory duty to provide suitable surfaces.

Highways. – Cllr Byford said that BT Openreach contractors had begun to dig a channel through  cobbles to lay a cable to Pear Tree House without giving notice to adjacent properties that there would be  restricted access. As this was unacceptable the contractor had withdrawn and the clerk is discussing possible solutions with BT Openreach.

The clerk will make enquiries regarding ownership and responsibility for maintenance of Canaan Lane as heavy vehicles are dislodging the surface and gravel was being deposited on the highway.

It was agreed to ask Highways to hold a site meeting concerning the speed of vehicles along North Road and Back Lane.

Travellers. – It was noted that travellers camping on the Busks recently had bagged up rubbish which RDC had collected promptly.  Apart from an area of fire damage to the turf, no other incidents or problems had been brought to council’s attention.  It was not felt that there was a need to alter previous arrangements.

Burial ground. – As work on the access to the new burial ground is complete a scale of charges and rules for the new burial ground is being prepared. The council agreed that the burial ground should be self-funding.

Plantations. – Instead of installing a gate at the main road end of the plantations it was felt that growing the hedge across the main road end of the path was a cheaper and more effective method of restricting pedestrian access.

It was agreed that the contractor should trim the hedge and shrubs. After consultation with local residents it was also agreed that, due to the nature of the tasks required, future maintenance of the Plantations should be undertaken by the contractor.

Events. – The council was told that the Octoberfest on October 9 will now be run solely by the Black Bull Hotel. It was agreed the hotel could have use of the central market area for a three-day period, including time for erecting and taking down, free of charge.

The councillors felt that the Super Feast Day on Bank Holiday Monday was a great success, being well attended by residents of all ages and well organised and supported by a team of volunteers. There appeared to be a consensus that it was safer and more enjoyable taking place on the sports field rather than the market square.

It was also agreed to participate in the nationwide programme of lighting beacons to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on June 2 2022.

Benches . – A proposal to move older but serviceable benches, understood to belong to council, from Long Lane and East Witton Road to either the market square or another open space to provide needed seating were discussed.  It was hoped that local volunteers would kindly carry out refurbishment. The few residents who were known to use the benches would be consulted.

Chapel building. – The council was disappointed to hear that Broadacre’s bid for the chapel building had been unsuccessful, especially as there was otherwise little scope for purchase of suitable land or buildings in Middleham for local occupancy housing.

Cllr Byford said there were potential limitations upon the council and the town’s charity having the authority to contribute towards a housing scheme under local government legislation.

Landline telephones. – There was discussion regarding potential impact for residents and businesses from the cessation of landlines in 2025, which had received little publicity.  ‘Landline’ numbers will instead work from the internet. This will be kept under review.

Next meeting. – This will be at the Key Centre at 7pm on Wednesday October 13.