Parish and visitor information centre to open in Askrigg

The popular Askrigg Newsroom will close at the weekend but reopen as a shop and information centre in early April.

By Betsy Everett

Askrigg parish council is opening its own office and village information centre as part of a scheme to be more accessible to its parishioners and provide a welcome for tourists.

When the Askrigg Foundation found a new tenant for its Market Square premises which had been empty since June the temporary community hub, The Newsroom, prepared to close. It had occupied the premises rent-free for five months, exhibiting the work of local artists and acting as an informal meeting and news-gathering space for residents and visitors. It was staffed by volunteers.

Next week the shop unit will re-open when new tenant, Danny Metcalfe, opens his antiques and collectables business, and the parish council will rent a small space alongside the main shop. It will be manned by volunteers on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday mornings, and parish clerk, Karen Lynch, will also have a presence there. It will provide valuable office space for the parish and  enable residents to visit with any concerns they want brought to the council’s attention.

Meanwhile tourist and visitor information and a range of leaflets, books and cards will be available, as will internet access, photocopying and computer facilities. There will, as now, be a small charge for photocopying but wifi use will be free.

Chairman of the parish council, Allen Kirkbride, said the office would make the council more accessible.

“We’re a very open council, and of course residents can come to meetings to raise concerns. But elderly people, especially, may not want to turn out at night and opening this small office will make us that bit more visible. The information centre will also be very valuable for locals and visitors and we’re grateful to all the volunteers who have kept the Newsroom going. It’s been a great success and this will be a continuation of that service.”

The shop will open on Saturday, March 4, and the parish centre on Monday, April 3. For information about opening times and volunteering at the information centre call 01969 650180.