New Middleham burial ground ready to use, councillors hear


Rules and charges for the new burial ground were adopted at the February meeting of Middleham Town Council.

The councillors were told that a statutory grave plan was being prepared and the application form for the exclusive right to burial would be published. Otherwise, the burial ground was ready for use.

Police report. – It was reported that the meeting with police representatives in December 2021 was considered disappointing by those who attended.

This was, it was stated, because the police played down the widely held local perception that insufficient attention was given to drugs; nor was it reassuring to hear that problems were apparently worse elsewhere.

The Headteacher of Wensleydale School, Julia Polley, had undertaken to lead a small working group to hold a community awareness event, even though the local inspector had offered lukewarm encouragement.

The clerk said he had provided feedback to Yorkshire Local Councils Association ’s (YLCA) Richmondshire Branch meeting in February which prompted other councils to share their own experiences where it was felt that local police had not fully appreciated their concerns.

The councillors were told that the YLCA had been unsuccessful so far in its attempts to arrange a meeting of local councils with the recently appointed Police Fire and Crime Commissioner.

There was a discussion regarding the level of service that rural communities should expect from their contribution to the police precept.

Slippery roads. – Cllr Honor Byford reported that following recent dry weather the slippery road surfaces in the town were again a concern for horse riders. She said that, although North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) intended to resurface the roads when funds permitted, she recommended that it should be lobbied to carry out an urgent retexturing with the jet water treatment. The council agreed and she will contact NYCC.

Speed limits. – The objectives of the “20’s plenty” campaign were noted but it was felt that such a low speed limit in Middleham was not justified. This was because speeding in the town was infrequent, in part due to the road layout. It was also considered unlikely that NYCC would support the implementation of a 20-mile per hour speed limit within the town.

Play area. – The construction of the improved play area is expected to start in mid-March and be completed over a two-week period. Details of an opening ceremony will be considered later.

Events. – The council gave approval for signs to be erected on council land for the Stables Open Day on Good Friday, April 15. It is also offering car parking on the Busks and Low Moor as has been done in previous years.

It was noted that the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday will be on Thursday June 2 and Friday June 3. Possible events in the town were suggested including a Jubilee lunch. Cllr Byford will contact local groups to gauge interest in forming a working group for a coordinated approach.  Mr Archibald has volunteered to light the beacon at the castle.

Funding. – The possibility of establishing a coordinated approach to fundraising between community groups in Middleham was discussed. This would mean that joint funding applications could be made. It was noted that successful applications required skill and that training might be helpful.

It was agreed that there should be an initial focus on identifying projects for which funding can be sought, although a coordinated approach would not be pursued.

Planning objections. – The councillors heard that there had been strong local opposition to an underpass being included in the revised application for the redevelopment of the racing yard at Manor House Farm. The application is also for the demolition of the farmhouse.

This underpass is proposed to be at the point where the linear gallop would cross a footpath. Objectors felt that this would spoil views and they considered it a disproportionate response to other concerns.

The council agreed to object to the proposed underpass. It will also object to the application to convert a barn at West End into a two-storey, two-bedroom dwelling as it is concerned about the provision of car parking and the window openings.

Next meeting. – Is  in the Key Centre at 6.30pm on Wednesday March 23.