Shortage of ambulances causing distress, Aysgarth councillors hear

The field above the cows at the west end of Thoralby could become the site of a 40.5m diameter slurry plant.

The shortage of emergency ambulances serving the dales is causing considerable distress to patients, councillors were told at the September meeting Aysgarth and District Parish Council.

North Yorkshire county councillor John Blackie stated: “The fact is that there simply are not sufficient emergency ambulances because so many services are being transferred to far distant hospitals like the James Cook [at Middlesbrough].

“The ambulances are completely and utterly overwhelmed. The front-line staff are brilliant but there’s not enough of them and they can’t be in two places at once.

“I am making a very determined attempt to get the CCG [Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group] to resource another emergency ambulance. As it stands now we can’t cope.”

The parish council heard reports that Community First Responders (who are all volunteers) are often waiting 35 to 40 minutes for an ambulance to reach a patient.

Repairs needed. – “There are several ambulances each day going up and down Bishopdale – and that’s why it’s important that the bridge is repaired,” said councillor Alison Sayer.

She reported that nothing had been done yet to repair it and bits continued to fall off.

Nor have any repairs been carried on the road between Thornton Rust and Cubeck.

It was reported that recently an articulated lorry and a 7 ½ ton lorry had great difficulty passing each other on the road to Thornton Rust. The councillors wondered if a weight limit could be imposed, and traffic directed via Askrigg when the A684 was flooded.

It was noted that, yet again, some motorists had driven past “road flooded” signs and then got stuck in floods along the A684.

Local schools. – The council supported maintaining all three schools (Askrigg, Bainbridge and West Burton). There was concern that if a programme of closure began that the only one left in mid Wensleydale would be that at Askrigg.

It was pointed out that when West Burton school joined in federation with the other two schools in May 2016 it had about £27,000 in hand. And yet the federation is now expected to have a deficit of around £90,000.

“Where has the money gone?” asked the clerk. Cllr Blackie said that the federation will be asked to give a full account.

Councillor Robert Walker said that any closures would mean the loss of social amenity and the ability of the villages to attract young families.

Cllr Sayer commented: “I was chair of governors [at West Burton] for eight years and we ran a very healthy school financially and educationally. West Burton school has produced a lot of very highly successful people as a lot of these small dales school have. And it doesn’t want to be lost.”

“They are taught to be autonomous learners and not to be fed information,” explained Jane Huntington.

Thoralby. – Mrs Huntington reported to the parish council the concerns expressed by villagers at the extraordinary parish meeting held two days earlier about the proposal by Town Head Farm to construct a 40.5m diameter slurry store above the west end of Thoralby.

The parish council agreed that it wished to support local farmers. It also, in general, supported the principle and the agricultural need for a new slurry store at Town Head Farm.

It did, however, feel that it was essential that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee should hold a site meeting there as there were a number of amendments to the scheme that the parish council and residents would like to see made to mitigate the impact of such a large slurry store upon the residents and the landscape. It was agreed that those concerns could be better explained at a site meeting.

Thornton Rust. – It was reported that the project to tidy up the Outgang car parking area was going very well thanks to the work of a small group of volunteers. The next stage is to install a picnic table and a bench.

Next meeting. – Is at 7.30pm in Aysgarth Institute on  Thursday, October 26.