Middleham Town Council to meet costs shortfall with reserves

Middleham Market Place.

Middleham Town Council has decided to raise its precept by just £500 even though it is expecting additional costs of up to £5,000.

At a meeting in January to discuss the budget the councillors heard that the cost of repairing cobbles in the town could increase by £1,000 to £4,000, and that for tree maintenance by £500 to £2,500.

It was agreed, however, to increase the precept by only four per cent from £12,250 to £13,750 and cover the shortfall by transferring funds from the reserves.

The councillors also discussed the possibility of the full annual running costs of the Key Centre reverting to the council.

Cllr Honor Byford explained, on behalf of the Key Centre trustees, that running costs might not need to be provided for in full as the reduced running costs secured by the trustees had extended the period before funds were exhausted and there was also scope for returning some cash to council.

The options for the future of the Key Centre were discussed at the December meeting.

Road resurfacing. – At the December meeting the council had received feedback from residents during the resurfacing work between Low Moor and the town centre regarding inconvenience, poor signage and belated introduction of lights controlling traffic through the one-way section between The Springs and St Alkelda’s Road.

The county council’s highways department  would be contacted to ensure that any future traffic management plans required traffic lights throughout St Alkelda’s.

Although no formal feedback from trainers had been received by council, Cllr Byford had heard positive comments from horse riders regarding the new surface.

Path improvements. – In response to comments received from a resident, it was agreed that, when wet, the path between the play areas might be difficult for some walkers and pushchairs.  The clerk would ask R A Wheeler to lay chippings to improve matters.

In the longer term the path would be upgraded by the developer of the housing alongside St Alkelda’s Road as part of the legally agreed infrastructure levy.

Jubilee light. – The council was informed that Simon Wheeler had installed and connected the light.  Favourable comments had been received, although an alternative bulb would be installed for a ‘softer’ light at a resident’s request.

A contribution towards purchase of the lamp had generously been offered by a resident who wished to remain anonymous.

Tupgill Park. – The council has objected to the planning application by Tupgill Park Estate to erect four timber holiday lodges with associated parking, roadways, paths and ancillary works.

The objection was on the grounds that incremental development was taking place on the estate. The council had adopted this position some years previously on another application and continued to believe that future applications should only be considered if a development plan and traffic management study was undertaken.

Dog fouling. – During the public forum Richard Fletcher, secretary of Middleham Sports Community and Welfare Association, told the council that there had been an increase in dog fouling on the sports field. Councillors noted that the grassed areas in the town were also affected, maybe due to owners exercising their dogs after dark.

Sports report. – Mr Fletcher had reported that the cricket club was planning to lay an underground power supply to the cricket nets. He also reported on the continuing success of Middleham AFC and that the juniors’ team was setting  up a girls’ team.

Additional volunteers were needed, he said, for the community garden and a recruitment campaign would be undertaken.

Police report. – PC Campbell was introduced as the local Beat Manager. She reported that the recent focus in Middleham had been drug testing which had revealed some class A users. She said this exercise would be repeated.

She confirmed that the local team would listen to residents’ reports of drink driving and that the Police were undertaking random vehicle lighting tests.  PCSO Diamond would forward details of a WhatsApp group she was coordinating that might be useful to residents in more remote areas.