Middleham tree planting proposal discussed at town council meeting

Middleham Market Place.

The visual and environmental benefits of planting trees in the centre of Middleham were discussed at the December meeting of the town council following a resident’s proposal.

Factors considered included: impact on the historic appearance and; conservation area guidance; potential impact upon utility lines; invasive roots; reduced parking spaces; fallen leaves creating slip risk and drain blockage as well as the initial purchase and ongoing maintenance costs, and possible alternatives such as flower tubs and hanging baskets.

Council would ask the resident to submit a detailed proposal to be considered at a future meeting following which it would seek the residents’ views. The final decision, however, would lie with the council.

Bunting. – Some residents had asked why it had taken so long to remove bunting. This was because the small band of volunteers had not been available.  The bunting has now been taken down and washed.

Other residents had been unhappy about banners on the walls of the Black Bull and if this was in contravention of conservation area guidance.  It was agreed that a councillor will seek to have them removed.

Website. – The 2020/21 budget includes £1,000 to introduce a new town council website.

Quotations will be sought and the councillors will look at examples of similar websites. Cllr Greg Fortune and the clerk will collaborate regarding statutory and regulatory issues.

Town guides. – Samples of the three guides currently available were reviewed. Cllr Nigel Hopper will collate new photographs and liaise with the Clerk to redraft the Town Guide. Mr Rollinson has checked the Town Walks guide.

NHS. – Council was disappointed that the closure of Leyburn Minor Injuries Unit would not be reversed but there was little to be gained from further communication. A watching brief would be maintained on the impact upon the local community.

It was noted that NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG will merge with two other groups to become the North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group from April 1.

Street lighting. – It was suggested that the areas between Park Lane and the Key Centre and in front of the South Plantation could benefit from improved lighting.  Councillors will also review the area between the top cross and Barbican House.

Flooding. –  Following a meeting with Cllr Honor Byford, Mr Bethell of Middleham Trainers’ Association said the association would assess the feasibility of constructing a berm to prevent run off from the Moors onto roads to the town, although a suitable site for a water retention area had not been identified.

The clerk will check with the Key Centre trustees that there was a procedure in place to regularly check that the drains were clear.

Middleham Bridge. – NYCC had confirmed that it was fully aware of the issues arising from its design and construction.  It was unable to make alterations due to its Grade II status but it was regularly monitored and repaired as required and was subject to a full inspection every two years.

Planning. – It was agreed to ask Richmondshire  District Council (RDC) for an extension of the consultation period regarding the application to create a centre for people of the horse racing industry at Hill House as an amendment had been submitted.

A set of printed plans will be made available at the Key Centre as earlier applications had attracted considerable interest.

Conservation officer. – Council was concerned about the vacancy for a conservation officer at RDC. It considered that any advice put forward by a private consultant would not be impartial or adequately reflect the outlook of the authority.

The clerk was asked to request confirmation about the timescale of a replacement and ask that the views of the town council should be given additional weight as it had consistently supported the conservation guidance.

Play areas. – The S106 legal agreement for the St Alkelda’s development would provide £57,594 towards the enhancement of nearby children’s play areas and the linked footpaths, payable to the RDC upon construction of the 15th property.

As the town council will be party to the agreement it was agreed to ask the developer when it would be involved.

Next meeting. – The Key Centre at 7pm on Wednesday January 29.