By Betsy Everett
Landowners who fell trees in a conservation area without permission could face prosecution and fines of up to £10,000, Hawes and High Abbotside parish council warned at their meeting this week.
Members heard that the remains of a tree chopped down in Gayle Lane near the junction with the Bealah Bank footpath, had been inspected by the national park tree specialists and declared healthy.
Chairman John Blackie said a nearby tree on the same piece of land also appeared to be under threat, having had some of its branches lopped, and called for members to support an application for a tree preservation order on it.
“It is against the law to cut down a tree in a conservation area without authorisation. The national park is now considering what action to take, which might be a proper replacement or could even be court action,” he said.
“If the landowner thought he was going to get planning permission [for building houses] there, then that tree has been cut down in vain. It is highly unlikely it would be granted,” he said. One landowner who had felled a tree near the business park in Hawes was fined £10,000 himself, plus another £10,000 for the person who had actually felled it.
Members agreed to apply for a tree preservation order on the second tree to stop it suffering a similar fate.
Meanwhile a plan to make Hawes town centre safer through a government initiative on rural roads had been under discussion for a year, members were told. Part of the “windfall” of £11.5 million would be made available to improve sections of the A684 and consultation was imminent.
One idea was to create a raised footpath through the town from the Penny Garth Café to Café Curva, tarmac the Cattle Market and create designated parking places.
“Anyone in Rose Cottages, or pushing a pushchair or a wheelchair at busy times, is forced into the road as they walk from one end of Hawes to the other. One elderly person can now no longer walk from her home to the post office,” said Cllr Blackie.
One resident said the pavement idea sounded good, but questioned how it would be managed. Another said the council had been discussing the problem for 10 years and nothing had been done. Cllr Blackie said a special parish council meeting would be called once the formal consultation got underway.
Other considerations under the scheme were a footpath from Hawes to Appersett and improving the junction where the Burtersett road meets the main road.
Although these were longer term projects, Cllr Blackie said the repainting of yellow and white lines, and Keep Clear markings, would be completed by the highways department of the county council within four weeks.
Two years after a boy fell off the roundabout in the Town End play park the council had received a claim for compensation for a broken leg. Initially they had been told there would be no claim. Cllr Blackie said the claim was that the roundabout was dangerous, but in fact it was the most popular piece of equipment in the park. In 24 years there had been only one other claim and that again had been two year and two months after the event. “Unfortunately” the insurance company had paid up. “They pay up too easily,” he said.
Parking on pavements in Gayle Lane when the Wensleydale Creamery car park was full, making it difficult for pedestrians and creating a danger to children leaving the Bealah Bank play area. Cllr Blackie said it may be necessary to apply for double yellow lines to be extended from the play area to where the Little White Buses park. An angry resident, Rodney Bell, complained about parking on Moorhills near the school but was told there was no support from the council at present for yellow or white lines to be painted on the road. He left the meeting with a threat to block the parking area for the Little White Bus.
Minutes of the previous meeting were not available as they were still being checked, chairman John Blackie told a meeting of Hawes and High Abbotside parish council. Members are looking to co-opt three more councillors to fill vacancies on the council and anyone living within the parish could apply.
Two vice chairs were elected, Tony Fawcett and Jill McMullon, as a precaution against the unavailability of Cllr Blackie, although he said after a recent bout of illness he now felt “very well.”