New housing, old walls and future plans on Askrigg parish council’s agenda

The Askrigg Foundation building which is due to be converted to housing.

By Betsy Everett

A damaged wall at Nappa on the A684 is “dangerous,” Askrigg and Low Abbotside parish council chairman Bruce Fawcett has told fellow councillors. But the highways department of North Yorkshire County Council had said it was “not on their list of priorities” and nothing more had been heard since the last complaint.

Councillor Yvonne Peacock, Upper Dales representative on North Yorkshire County Council, said she had been told that highways had secured the wall and fenced it. But the fencing was plastic and no good, said council clerk Karen Lynch. “One gust of wind and it’s gone,” she said. Cllr Peaock said she would raise the matter again with the county.

Members had been invited to a meeting of the Wensleydale and Coverdale parish council forum in October by clerk to the group, Sue Ryding. Subjects discussed at the gathering of parish councillors included affordable housing, housing for the elderly and disabled, attracting young families to the rural area and broadband coverage. Members agreed they would like to be involved in future meetings.

Cllr Peacock said she had attended the forum and Peter Stockton of the national park authority had also attended and talked about the new local plan which would be the first to cover the extended national park area. The group would have input into this at the outset. “It was a very good meeting and a feeling that a bigger body of parish councils will get their voices heard better than individual councils,” she said. Another meeting was planned for January.

Revised plans for the Askrigg Foundation building in Main Street had now gone out to tender, the council was told. The first tenders received some months ago had been way beyond the Foundation’s budget. A great deal of work was going on behind the scenes and building work could start in February 2020. The craft shop on the ground floor would close on Saturday, December 7. The crafts people had found a new “home” in Hawes but someone else had expressed an interest in taking over the shop once building work on the three affordable homes, and shop refurbishment, was complete.

Martin Garside, treasurer of the village hall committee, reported that cleaning the hall and toilets was costing £140 a month, a saving of £40 on previous costs. The committee was working on major renovation plans and already this financial year £1,500 had been raised. It would be well into 2020 before building work started.

As a representative of the Yorebridge Education Foundation and the national park authority, Councillor Allen Kirkbride had attended an informal meeting giving an update on the state of the schools in the BAWB federation: Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton. Numbers were rising slowly, they were no major problems,  but like many schools they were on a tight budget and would welcome more pupils. Similar meetings would be held regularly to keep people informed. 

The 30mph speed sign on the main road at the west end of the village had been effective in “making people think”  said council clerk, Karen Lynch. However, the batteries, which cost £300 (one was free with the sign) were lasting only five or six days before needing recharging. The sign had to be moved from time to time, which meant a solar-powered one could not be used as it would be much heavier and more difficult to manoeuvre. The problem, members heard, was that on the main road from Bainbridge there were three official speeds – 40, 60, and 30 miles an hour. Now the brewery and Bainbridge Vets were on the old station yard site there was more traffic, said resident Kate Empsall. She asked if the 60mph limit could be reduced to 40mph up to the point of the 30mph limit. The council agreed to make enquiries.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority had concluded that burning heather did not prevent infestations of heather beetle but may help once outbreaks had started. However, burning could permanently damage areas of heather and was not allowed in areas of deep peat.

The owner of Coles House in Moor Road said the drive outside [serving hers and other houses] alongside an area of the village green, was severely potholed and she wanted to repair it. Members agreed she could get the drive resurfaced but the parish council would not be able to contribute. 

The clerk was asked to contact the planning department to ask if the owners of West Leigh on West End had, or indeed needed, planning permission for the works they were carrying out.