Village residents feel “spied on” by private cameras

The disputed path in Askrigg

By Betsy Everett

Residents of Askrigg have told their parish council they are concerned about surveillance cameras which they say are pointing towards public footpaths from a privately-owned property.

It is claimed that the cameras, placed on a building once occupied by the Yorkshire Dales Brewery, are being used to “watch over” people using the footpaths in the area of Seata Barn, although Askrigg and Low Abbotside parish councillors heard it was unclear whether the cameras were ‘live’ or dummies.

North Yorkshire Police and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority had been informed by residents who said they had walked the footpaths for over 40 years and did not enjoy the feeling of being spied on.

The use of surveillance in towns and cities was understandable but in a small, rural village which depended on tourism it was, they said, “inappropriate.”

One resident told the council that she believed a change in European Law could outlaw the use of such cameras by private individuals, and before she had moved to Askrigg she had been told to remove a camera on her own property that faced the public highway.

Council chair, Allen Kirkbride, said they needed to establish with the police whether or not the cameras were ‘live’ and exactly what the legal position was.

Councillor Martyn Alderson said that regardless of whether the cameras were ‘live’ the matter should be fully investigated.

“People have taken the trouble to write to us and express their concerns about this and they are obviously worried. It needs to be followed up and thoroughly investigated,” he said.

Richmondshire councillor, Yvonne Peacock, said the district council had recently looked into the legality of cctv and may be able to advise.

Members agreed that the matter should be followed up with North Yorkshire Police.

Another resident had raised the question of rights of way over the land behind Seata Barn and in front of the former brewery building. Councillors said some residents thought it was village property and others that it was privately owned.

Coun Kirkbride said it had been established that there was a right of way and residents of at least one property, Hillgarth, had the right to hang out washing.

Surveillance cameras on the old brewery