MIDDLEHAM. – The town council will organise a straw poll of opinion in Middleham about whether the Jubilee Fountain should be restored or retained as a flower bed.
The councillors were told that Richmond Buildings Preservation Trust had previously agreed in principle that it would be prepared to fund a “minor project”. It was now suggesting that the council should seek further advice from Historic England and investigate listed building planning consent.
Burial ground. – The clerk reported that the pre-application advice from Richmondshire District Council’s (RDC) planning officer concerning the new burial ground had been received and no serious issues had been raised. A planning application has been drafted.
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A statutory grave plan was being prepared. It was noted with some concern that a requirement to leave a clear area either side of water pipes running across the site might severely impact upon the space available. A draft of the burial ground rules had also been prepared.
The council will look at the possibility of providing an ashes scattering area at the Memorial Wood on the Low Moor.
Camping pods. – The applicants for planning permission for a camp site for 11 timber camping pods near Curlew Barn, East Witton Road, attended the council meeting and answered questions about the development.
The council agreed that there should be a site meeting to explore some of the issues before it submitted comments to the planning authority.
Forbidden Corner. – The council had no objection to the retrospective application for redeveloping Bell Barn at Forbidden Corner to use it as a dining area alongside the Saddle Room.
Representation had, however, been made to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority about traffic to and from Forbidden Corner using a private road owned by the council. The council had also expressed frustration that this was a further instance of the applicant seeking permission after the works had commenced.
Racehorse training. – It was reported that there were instances when racehorse training appeared to be carried out after 1pm. The clerk was asked to discuss this and the issue of horse numbers not being fully declared with Middleham Trainers’ Association (MTA).
Special events. – At the Roadshow held by the Tour de Yorkshire organisers it was stated that funding was available for activities taking place on the day of the race. The council will convene a meeting of interested parties.
The proposed plans for the Richard III Festival this year include a medieval banquet at the Key Centre rather than a concert at the church.
Flooding concerns. – The owner of a home in the West End was concerned that blocked drains and gulleys could lead to flooding. One of the drains was owned by the council and had been cleared by the county council’s highways department.
Although there was no evidence that other drains were blocked the council recognised the concern of the householder and agreed to look into the possibility of purchasing sandbags as an emergency measure at times of heavy rainfall.
Boundary commission. – The consensus of opinion in the town was that it would become a junior partner to Leyburn if it was included in the same district council ward under the proposals made by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.
Business rates. – Cllr Honor Byford informed the council about the basis of the recalculation of RDC’s business rates, its appeals process and the 2017 Revaluation Discretionary Rate Relief scheme which capped the increases payable by smaller businesses arising out of the revaluation.
She said reliefs were available in decreasing sums over a three year period and RDC was urging smaller businesses to review their demands and contact it to check whether they might be eligible.
Drug awareness. – Cllr Byford reported upon an initiative to establish a strategy for action on drugs in the community involving different agencies and organisations and agreed to act as the council’s lead for this on an interim basis.
Racing Welfare recently held a drug awareness session for all in the community.
Policing. – The council was informed that an additional PCSO had been appointed.
Sgt Findlay confirmed that the Pub Watch scheme was now operational within the town.
Town wastes. – Cllr Martin Cade reported on the state of the cobbles in the town and supplied information to the clerk so that estimates for any repairs could be obtained.
The other issues in the town included a large amount of weeds on some council land; bins being permanently left outside three dwellings; and the removal of a grit bin.
The next meeting of the town council will be at the Key Centre at 7pm on Wednesday February 28.