At its virtual meeting on October 28 it was agreed to accept a tender for the construction works for the new burial ground made by Gavin Smith Ltd.
The council had provided detailed specifications for the works including that the paved path should match that in the Church burial ground. The council had also sought the advice of the Guild of Stone Wallers.
Although all three tender submissions had been higher that the indicative costs received several years ago, the council felt that the project had already been delayed by a number of factors and should proceed as quickly as possible.
Budget. – As the income from rents and interest on cash reserves was lower this year the council had adopted reserves policies.
It was agreed that the overall projection from the draft budget was that it should be possible to retain the current level of precept at £12,000 even though the town’s charity was projecting a deficit of £11,000.
This would require a significant transfer from reserves so the council, as trustee, would need to consider generating additional income or reduce expenditure. The clerk reported that there appeared to be little scope to reduce known expenditure and create additional income.
A less expensive Christmas tree will be purchased but the annual cost of repair and switching on the lights was estimated at £700.
Only routine maintenance will be carried out at the Plantations and no expenditure was earmarked for the proposed tree planting in the town or taking over the Middleham online website.
Dog fouling. – The clerk reported that Richmondshire District Council (RDC) could not place the new bins at the suggested locations as land ownership of the verges was unclear.
While alternative locations were being sought the clerk will arrange for a sign to be placed near the start of Canaan’s Lane indicating where the current bin was. Cllr Simon Wheeler will erect the dog bag dispensers.
Waste bins. – The council was disappointed that the RDC would not replace the bin by the skate park as it did not own the playing fields. It had stated that the bin there had been emptied in the past in error and that would now cease. It will only supply and empty a replacement bin at the town council’s expense.
Police report. – PCSO Lucy Osborn reported that enquiries regarding the arson attack on a car in the Springs could not be progressed due to lack of information. She emphasised it was never too late for witnesses to come forward so that investigation could recommence.
It was agreed that the incident had been very unsettling for nearby residents and it was fortunate that damage had not been greater.
PCSO Osborn said that if there were any more incidents of children throwing items at windows householders should dial 999 straightaway so that there could be a rapid police deployment.
Methodist chapel. – It was agreed to seek more information about the future of other redundant chapels in the area. The council felt it would be a lost opportunity if those chapels, including that at Middleham, were not used for community housing.
Traffic management. – It was reported that there had been a positive response to the one-way traffic system between the Springs and St Alkelda’s Road. It was agreed to accept the offer made by the highways authority to install larger road signs which will include a painted sign on the road.
It was also reported that polite notices placed on cars carelessly parked in Grove Terrace had led to an improvement.
Playing field. – Cllr Wheeler apologised that a quantity of soil and paving slabs had been delivered to the playing fields without prior notification.
He said the material had become available free of charge and was suitable for creating a larger levelled area adjacent to the pavilion to accommodate the proposed storage shed, rather than installing a large concrete base. The slabs would provide additional paving. He confirmed that if plans for the shed did not proceed he would remove the materials.
The council requested a brief description of the proposed shed and a plan showing its dimensions and construction details. These will also be displayed in the pavilion window.
Cllr Nigel Hopper reported that there was local interest in creating a boule/petanque court on the old tennis court area and an outline plan had been circulated.
Next meeting. – This will be at 7pm on Wednesday December 9.