Middleham Town Council received a report of an incident of unauthorised grouse shooting on the High Moor, the councillors were told at the March meeting.
Local residents do not have an entitlement to shoot on the moors as the council had agreed in 2002 that only organised parties should be granted shooting rights upon formal application to the council.
Shooting is permitted during the appropriate seasons over some common land areas in Middleham under strict conditions and by prior permission of the town council only.
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The council includes checks of the proper licences and insurance and planned drives and shooting times to ensure public safety.
In this instance, a witness reported that shooting appeared to have taken place from adjacent land owned by another party not on the moor itself but possibly towards and over council land.
Following investigations by both the town council and the police, no evidence was found that shooting across the Common Land or pond area had taken place so no further action will be taken.
The council said it was confident that walkers and riders using the Moor bridleways and footpaths in line with the byelaws do so in safety.
The authority said it was now the closed season so there is no shooting on the Moor other than pest control – also by prior arrangement with the Council.
Dog bite. – It was reported to the council that a visitor’s dog had been bitten by a collie-type dog on the moor and had required veterinary treatment. Notices on the moor clearly state that dogs must be kept on a lead. Councillor John Kirkbride said he would carry out enquiries to try and find out who owned the collie-type dog.
Richard III Festival. – At the March meeting the councillors discussed the arrangements for the Richard III Festival in Middleham from June 30 to July 2.
A committee was formed comprising of three councillors, three residents, a representative of St Alkelda’s church and Gillian Savage of English Heritage.
Wensleydale School. – PCSO Taylor-Paige reported upon an escalation of rumours via social media regarding an alleged inappropriate incident involving a man and a young girl near the Wensleydale School.
She said that no such incident had taken place and she assured everyone that if anything like that had occurred it would have been investigated formally by the police and other agencies.
Appropriate communication would have been undertaken with nearby communities to ensure public safety and prevent possible vigilante action being taken, she added.
Abandoned vehicles. – PCSO Taylor-Paige offered to assist with identifying the owners of any vehicles that appeared to have been abandoned in the market square.
Dog fouling. – The council was disappointed that Richmondshire District Council (RDC) had placed a moratorium on installing general and dog waste bins even though the latter were funded by the town council.
It was agreed to obtain stickers for general waste bins stating that dog waste could be disposed in them.
At the February meeting it was agreed to ask the RDC to add the ginnel between Park Lane and the churchyard to the areas that were covered by its parish cleaning service.
Defibrillator. – A training session was arranged so that residents could learn how to use the community defibrillator which has been installed on a wall of the Old Town Hall.
This and the cabinet cost £1,167, £303 less than expected as a cheaper but equally suitable cabinet was purchased.
Replanting troughs. – Rosemary Thompson’s offer to replant the troughs at the Upper Cross was gratefully received and the council agreed to cover the cost of the plants.
Mrs Thompson’s suggestion at the February meeting that a notice should be erected on the Plantations asking dog owners not to allow the area to be used as a dog toilet was accepted.
Festive lighting. – The council decided that the cost of replacing all the lighting strings with the latest model inclusive of a five-year warranty (£5,556 plus VAT) was excessive.
The preferred outcome was to retain the existing strings and accept a free replacement for the longest string. The clerk was asked to obtain the cost of replacement spare lamps.
Key Centre signage. – The council was informed that Jim Rollinson and the clerk had removed and repositioned the signs on the plantations so that both pointed clearly towards Park Lane. Mr Rollinson had cleaned the grime off the signs and repainted the arrow on one of them.
Stables Open Day. – Arrangements for this event on Easter Monday were discussed.
Councillors noted that some residents were disappointed that this year’s event was not involving or benefitting as wide a spectrum of the community as previously. They discussed whether charges for the use of council land should be levied in future for the event, particularly as it inevitably created additional congestion and disruption in the town.
Next meeting. – The next meeting is in the Key Centre at 7pm on Wednesday, April 26.