At the January meeting of Aysgarth and District parish council councillors expressed considerable concern about the provision of health services in Wensleydale and at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton. They were glad to hear that Andrew Lansley MP, the Secretary of State for Health had agreed to attend a meeting in Hawes on March 15 to discuss the problems encountered by a rural medical practice.
They unanimously supported County Coun John Blackie in any campaign to ensure that full maternity and paediatric services were retained at the Northallerton Hospital . Coun Blackie spoke of the need to fight for the continuation of those services. He pointed out that people from the Upper Dale already had to travel an average of 37 miles to reach Northallerton but that would be doubled if they had to go to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Some councillors wondered if the Army should be involved in trying to safeguard such services as there were so many young families living at Catterick Garrison.
Flooding. – Coun Peter Windle suggested that measuring posts should be installed along the A684 between Aysgarth and Worton at the places where heavy flooding occurred. These would enable drivers to assess if they could safely drive through a flooded section.
It was felt that more should be done to inform motorists especially as two people came close to being killed in the recent flooding when their car was almost swept away. It was also suggested that local volunteers could help with promptly putting up and removing flood warning signs. “Locals should at least be able to phone in and say when the road should be closed,” said the chairman, Coun Brian McGregor.
It was even suggested that maybe there should be moveable barriers similar to the snow barriers used in some other areas, and that volunteers could close these when the water on the road was too deep for vehicles to pass. In the meantime the council has requested that a large sign should be put up at the west end of Aysgarth to prevent drivers using the A684 when the road was flooded.
Thornton Rust road. – There had been a complaint about the number of large vehicles using the diversion through Thornton Rust during the last period of flooding. These vehicles were damaging the road sides and there was the possibility of subsidence. The clerk will ask the county council’s highways department to provide better signage at Wensley.
Parish councillors had dealt with the problem of excess water running down onto that road near Aysgarth.
The clerk will also report that there had been further flooding at the top of Kidstones at the junction with the Stake Road despite recent remedial work, and that there had been serious flooding at New Bridge in Bishopdale when a large amount of water had run off the land onto the road.
At the north end of Goose Lane, Thoralby, the floods had washed out a large part of the quarry waste. The clerk will request a site meeting with the highways department to ask for advice as to the best way of making a more permanent repair.
Palmer Flatt. – Mr and Mrs Steve Swann attended the meeting to give the councillors an up-date on their plans for the inn and to answer any questions, including about changing the name to Aysgarth Falls Hotel. They also explained what had happened regarding their planning applications to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. Their objective is still to complete the refurbishment work and re-open the hotel in the Spring.
Road signs. – Mike Woodford of the highways department had informed the parish council that the warning sign at Temple Bank was the correct one as it discouraged the drivers of heavy goods vehicles from regularly using the B6160 through Bishopdale.
The direction signs at the top of Church Bank would be adjusted to reduce the problem of reflection. Advertising signs will be inspected and appropriate action will be taken if necessary.
The highways department did not know who had repainted the double yellow lines outside the old Aysgarth railway station. The parish council was assured that the re-painting of the lines outside The Falls was on the list of works.
Harper Wath Bridge .- The parish council was pleased that at long last someone had accepted that it owned and was responsible for maintaining Harper Wath Bridge at Aysgarth. The county council’s bridge department had confirmed that it owned the bridge and had informed the parish council that should funding become available the bridge would be classed as high priority.
Winter gritting. – The clerk will ask the highways department to ensure that Kidstones is gritted in the evening when ice was forecast, and to allow better coverage of grit. The grit heaps for Humphrey Hill and Town Head at Thoralby had been delivered.
Street lights. – The clerk will contact Gensol, who supplied the solar light near Aysgarth surgery, about obtaining a replacement bulb. It was reported that the street light on Humphrey Hill was now working. BT had cleaned the phone box at Newbiggin.
Precept. – It was agreed to request a precept of £3,750 for 2012 to 2013.
The Olympic torch will arrive at Aysgarth Falls between 11.30am and noon on June 20, Aysgarth and District parish council was told at the February meeting. Nigel Metcalfe from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) Ranger service said that the torch would be carried from Bedale to Aysgarth Falls and then on to Leyburn and Richmond, accompanied by a convoy of 15 vehicles.
The torch bearer will run down Church Bank, Aysgarth, and into the YDNPA’s car park where there will be a change over. There will be a photo opportunity at the Middle Falls and other events will be organised to which local school children will be invited.
Affordable housing. – The councillors discussed with Dt Coun Yvonne Peacock and the five residents who attended the meeting the YDNPA’s decisions following the examination of its housing development plan by the Planning Inspectorate and the difficulty of finding suitable sites in Aysgarth and Thornton Rust.
The YDNPA had issued a statement expressing strong disappointment at the proposed rejection of four sites that would have provided 10 new homes for local people. This included the proposed sites in Aysgarth and Thornton Rust. Comments on the changes to the original plan must be submitted by April 10.Newsletters have been circulated providing more information and this issue will be discussed at the meeting in March.
Parish meetings. – There will be parish meetings on Wednesday, March 21 at Thoralby and at Thornton Rust, and on Thursday March 22 at Aysgarth.
Two representatives of the Wensleydale Society asked if a small tree could be planted on Aysgarth village green to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the society. It was agreed this should be discussed at the Aysgarth parish meeting.
Friarage Hospital. – The council was informed that there would be a protest march in Northallerton in support of keeping the paediatric, maternity services and special day care unit at the Friarage hospital. That march will now be held on Saturday, May 26.
Aysgarth village green. – A resident had informed the council that he had placed some building materials on the green. It was agreed that these should be removed as soon as possible.
The same resident had requested permission to power wash the war memorial. The clerk had consulted with Robert White, the YDNPA senior conservation archaeologist, who had inspected the memorial and advised against power washing. He considered that the patina was appropriate for the age of the memorial and added that the wrought iron may need repainting in a few years time.
Aysgarth highways. – The county council’s highways department has stated that it will position larger signs at the west end of Aysgarth to prevent vehicles continuing along the A684 when the road was flooded at Throstle Nest. Depth gauges will be installed at the locations where that road most regularly flooded.
The clerk will inform the highways department that temporary fencing outside what is now Aysgarth Falls Hotel was causing pedestrians with prams to walk on the road.
The reflector post at the east end of the retaining wall on the slip road to the institute has not yet been replaced.
Thoralby. – A resident had complained about dog fouling in the Mill Bridge area and along the adjacent lane. Coun Jane Huntington offered to make some notices to go in holiday cottages and to put an article in the next newsletter about this problem. It was agreed to request a dog litter bin for that area.
Mike Woodford from the highways department had met with the clerk to look at the flood damage to the quarry waste at the south end of Goose Lane. He said that the highways department did not have the resources to carry out the best repair which would be to tarmac that section of the lane.
Newbiggin. – It was agreed that the council would sponsor the grit bin outside Candlelight Cottage as there was no other alternative. This will cost £75 per year.
Thornton Rust. – The clerk will confirm that a donation of £1,500 will be made to Thornton Rust institute towards building a kitchen extension and providing disabled toilets. The funds will come from the Thornton Mire account.
The blocked drain at Brackengarth, reported to the highways department in 2011, still had not been cleared.
Grass cutting. – As Horton Landscaping had not increased its quote for cutting the grass on the greens at Aysgarth, Thoralby and Thornton Rust, it was agreed to accept that for 2012. This will be £2,021 plus VAT for 14 cuts from April to the end of October. The county council will contribute £39.52 for strimming by a telegraph pole in Aysgarth.
Aysgarth and District Parish Council will ask appeal inspector, David Vickery, to reconsider his decision to reject the one site put forward by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) for affordable housing in Aysgarth in its Yorkshire Dales Development Plan. The councillors heard at the March meeting that 30 out of the 34 residents who attended the annual Aysgarth parish meeting had voted for a resolution to ask Mr Vickery to reconsider. (For the full resolution see below)
Aysgarth meeting had requested the parish council’s support for the resolution which included details of how the access to and from the proposed site could be improved to make it safe for pedestrians and vehicles. It was also stated that only two landowners had offered land in Aysgarth for affordable housing and one of those sites was rejected by the YDNPA.
In addition two thirds of the residents of Aysgarth had signed a petition which stated: We support the YDNPA in its aim to provide affordable housing in Aysgarth, specifically the provision of an estimated four houses behind Aysgarth Institute. This is because we believe the viability of the community of Aysgarth will be seriously undermined if permission is not granted for these houses to be built.
One Aysgarth resident pointed out that with the number of children attending local schools falling it was becoming more and more difficult to sustain three primary schools in mid Wensleydale.
Seven of the eight councillors present voted to support the parish meeting resolution. Coun Peter Windle wished it to be recorded that he was disassociating himself from the resolution because of its patronising description of council houses and the general putdown of the present housing in the village. He added: “In view of Mr Vickery’s independent decision to reject the site, we as a parish council ought now get down to the task of identifying suitable land lateral to the roadways where housing can be built without causing danger to all road users and local residents.”
A petition was handed in supporting the inspector’s decision to reject the one site in Thornton Rust.
Maternity services. – County Coun John Blackie said that there would be public meetings at Hawes Primary School on April 26 and at Tennants Auction Rooms in Leyburn on May 22 in support of retaining full children’s and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton. The march will be held in Northallerton on May 26.
Andrew Lansley MP, Secretary of State for Health had cancelled his visit to Hawes in March.
Thoralby. – The parish council was informed that Thoralby parish meeting had agreed that £2,000 could be paid from the Thoralby Moss account to the village hall towards upkeep and the cost of buying a new boiler. The cost of strimming Goose Lane twice a year and spraying the Pinfold could also be met from the Thoralby Moss account.
Some tarmac planings had been spread at the south end of Goose Lane by the county council’s highways department. If that was washed out concrete would be used for a long standing repair.
The cost of providing a dog bin at £174 would have to be financed by the parish council. The clerk will check to see if any grants are available.
Thornton Rust. – Thornton Rust parish meeting had discussed a complaint about the black plastic which was littering the area. Coun Penny Noake agreed to approach the owner of the farm concerned to discuss the problem.
Letters of thanks will be sent to Nigel Metcalfe of the YDNPA Ranger Service and to Sheena Pratt who owns the land for the repairs to the clapper bridge off the Outgang.
The walls along the Scar need to be repaired but that is the owner’s responsibility.
Aysgarth. – The Wensleydale Society had asked Aysgarth parish meeting if a tree could be planted on the village green to commemorate its 60th anniversary. The parish meeting suggested that a commemorative plaque should be placed on the outside wall of the hall. This request will now go to the Aysgarth Institute committee.
There was a request for the potholes by the Quaker houses to be repaired and for dog fouling notices to be placed in that area.
As dog fouling was also a problem in Thornton Rust the clerk will obtain more “No fouling” notices from the district council.
Church Bank. – As the advertising signs along Church Bank and at the junction with the A684 do not present a hazard no action will be taken by the highways department. It had been confirmed by the district council’s licensing enforcement officer that the Falls Country Club was licensed to hold discos.
Speeding cars. – The Hambleton and Richmondshire speed matrix group had recently issued 20 fixed penalty notices to those caught speeding in the Aysgarth 30mph zone and one fixed penalty notice for speeding in the 40mph zone. The group will continue to carry out speed checks periodically.
Eco week. – The trees ordered from Richmondshire Eco Week have been delivered to Newbiggin and await collection by those who will plant them in Thoralby and Thornton Rust.
At the April meeting of Aysgarth and District parish council Dt Coun Yvonne Peacock stressed the importance of attending meetings and the rally in support of the continuation of the children’s and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton on May 26. The parish council agreed to donate £100 towards the cost of organising the rally.
It was reported that the Secretary of State of Health, Andrew Lansley MP, will visit the Central Dales Practice at Hawes on Thursday, May 17.
Planning. – Only one of the three Aysgarth councillors supported the application to convert an existing workshop adjacent to Yore Mill Cottages into a two-bedroom live/work unit.
It was agreed that all planning applications would be brought to each meeting so that the councillors would be able to view them if so wished. Coun Peter Windle questioned how the clerk responded to planning applications. He was informed that she first consulted with councillors and then sent details of their views to the planning officers.
The councillors agreed that the new presumption in favour of sustainable development should be incorporated into the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning policy framework. They also completed a questionnaire about how they would like the National Park to be in the future.
Aysgarth. – The new owners of the Edwardian rock garden had agreed to cut the grass outside it.
Concern had been expressed that the noise after the disco at the Falls club on March 31 had continued until 3am. Anne Kiely confirmed that the licence runs until 2am.
Coun David Wood informed the meeting that neither of the two farmers named by Coun Windle were prepared to offer land for affordable housing in and around Aysgarth.
Councillor needed. – The council was informed that Coun Jacobs had resigned due to pressure of work. The clerk would notify the district council and a notice of vacancy will be produced.
An offer by David Pickard to donate a plaque to record the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was accepted with thanks by Aysgarth and District Parish Council at the May meeting. This plaque will be placed beside others on the wall opposite the tearoom in Aysgarth.
Speeding. – Hambleton and Richmondshire Road Safety group will continue monitoring speeding through Aysgarth after issuing six fixed penalty notices to motorists recently. One other motorist will have to attend a speed awareness course.
Mobile skip. – Refreshments were provided for the operators when a skip was brought to Aysgarth in April. The council recorded its thanks to County Coun John Blackie for arranging this facility.
Potholes. – The county council’s highways department will repair potholes at Aysgarth and at Thornton Rust, and the gully on the Thornton Rust side of Low Gill. It will also repair the drainage pipe adjacent to New Bridge in Bishopdale and has been informed about a collapsed drain at Thoralby.
The clerk will ask the highways department to remove a sign which is frequently obscured by long grass beside the A684 by the T junction prior to the road to Hawthorn Farm as this has already caused damage to a hedge trimmer.
Annual meeting. – At the annual general meeting Coun Brian McGregor was re-elected as chairman, and Coun Penny Noake as vice-chair. A new councillor for Thoralby will need to be co-opted as there had been no request for an election.
Planning. – The council had no objections to the conditions on the planning permission for Kevock Cottage in Aysgarth being altered, or to the proposed alterations to Yoredale Cottage in Thornton Rust. The latter is a listed building.
At the June meeting County Coun John Blackie thanked Aysgarth and District parish council for its contribution towards the cost of organising the rally in Northallerton concerning the future of the maternity and paediatric services at theFriarage Hospital, Northallerton.
He said that a delegation had visited a hospital in Banbury to see how that was run in a similar situation to that at Northallerton. The councillors agreed that there was much concern in the Upper Dales about the time it took for an ambulance to reach the hospital in Middlesbrough, especially when there were so few community midwives available.
New website. – The clerk reported that the Upper Dales Parish Council website had been launched at Hudson House in Reeth on June 13. Most parish councils in Upper Wensleydale were involved and the parish council minutes would be posted on it once they had been approved. The address for the website is www.parishconnect.co.uk.
The parish council adopted the new Model Code of Conduct. This is a requirement of the Localism Act 2011.
Aysgarth. – Coun David Wood was thanked for replacing the bulb in the solar street light near Aysgarth surgery.
Yorkshire Water will be informed about the loose grate on the 1684 in Aysgarth.
There were no objections to the application to erect a single storey extension and lean-to-car port behind Well View Cottage.
Thornton Rust. – It was reported that the roofs of the new houses in the Outgang at Thornton Rust had been lowered in compliance with an enforcement notice.
The verge at the west end of the village had been partially cut by county council contractors despite an agreement that it would be cut at the end of the year by the grass cutters working under contract for the parish council.
Coun John Dinsdale will meet with the county council’s maintenance manager concerning the blocked gully near Low Gill and other matters. He was thanked for clearing Richmond Gate of fallen trees and branches even though that work was the responsibility of the county council’s highways department.
There were no objections to the planning application by Manor Farm to change a store room into an ice cream production unit.
Thoralby. – The councillors were very concerned at the traffic hazard caused by cars parking at the corner by Beech Cottage. The clerk will contact PC Stuart Grainger again about this.
At the July meeting of Aysgarth and District parish council Charles Martin was co-opted as the new member for Thoralby parish and was welcomed to the parish council by the chairman, Coun Brian McGregor.
Thoralby. – The council has applied to the Dales Festival of Food and Drink for a grant towards the cost of providing a dog bin near the bridge at the Mill.
There had been a complaint about the way the hedges had been cut along Goose Lane. The lane had been strimmed later than agreed and so did not require another strim at the end of July. The councillors would keep it under review and inform the grass cutters if another cut was needed this year.
The clerk had contacted North Yorkshire Police about cars parked on the bend near Beech Cottage and was awaiting a report. The council had no objections to the following planning applications: for re-roofing, stonework repair and the creation of a new opening between kitchen and dining room at Littleburn which is a listed building; and the removal of pebble dash and cement render and work on the north and south gables at West Lane House, Bishopdale.
Thornton Rust. – Coun John Dinsdale will order 12 new posts from Gayle Mill for the village green. There were no objections to the retrospective planning application for solar panels on the roof of an outbuilding at Thornton Rust Hall.
Aysgarth. – At the next meeting the councillors will discuss the cleaning of the Roll of Honour plaque on the Aysgarth Memorial.
Highways. – The county council’s maintenance manager had met with Coun Dinsdale and looked at outstanding highways issues in Thornton Rust, Aysgarth and Bishopdale. Coun Dinsdale was assured that the blocked drains in Thornton Rust and Bishopdale would be jetted; that potholes at Nipe End in Thornton Rust and at Dyke Hollins in Aysgarth would be repaired; and that saplings along Dyke Hollins would be cut back. The clerk will inform the highways department that the grate on the A684 by Wensleydale Farm in Aysgarth needs resetting and the tarmac around it to be repaired.
Standing orders. – A standing order was adopted which will require that a member who has a disclosable pecuniary interest in any business of the council must withdraw from that part of the room or chamber when that issue is discussed.
Newsletter. – Coun Jane Huntington had produced the newsletter and gave copies to councillors for distribution. Coun Peter Windle gave a report on the July meeting of the Upper Wensleydale Area Partnership.
Aysgarth and District parish council decided at the August meeting to ask the Shropshire War Memorials Association for advice about how to clean the roll of honour plaques on Aysgarth war memorial. The plaques may also need lacquering.
Highways repairs – At the August meeting the councillors expressed their disappointment that the majority of the work that Coun John Dinsdale had discussed with the county council’s maintenance manager had not yet been carried out. These included the potholes to be repaired at Aysgarth.
The clerk will ask the highways department for an update concerning painting new yellow lines outside the Falls Motel at Aysgarth. Other highways issues in and around Aysgarth included the damage to the 40mph sign and the steep hill sign on the road to West Burton; replacing the reflector plate at the slip road to the institute; and that the tarmac around a grate near the George and Dragon pub was breaking up.
At Low Gill, Thornton Rust, a dip in the road was filling with silt because the drain had not been repaired.
Bishopdale. – A house owner in Newbiggin had asked if the road surface could be repaired to prevent water running under their perimeter wall and flooding the property. The clerk will ask the highways department to clean out the ditch along Low Green Lane in Thoralby. And she will inform the district council that the street light on the village green was not working.
Thornton Rust. – The council had received an official letter of thanks from the village institute management committee for funding from the Thornton Mire account towards the improvements to the building.
Register of interests. – It was agreed that the signed parish councillors’ register of interest forms will not be posted on the Parish Connect website. Members of the public can request to see them.
Friarage hospital. – County Coun John Blackie reported that an update had been received from Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group on the final options for the children’s and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital. A plan using the data collected in the past three months will be taken to the NHS North Yorkshire and York Board in September for approval. A decision will be made formally early next year.
SEPTEMBER – The extreme flooding at the end of the month had caused a lot of damage to the road surfaces in the area it was reported at the September meeting of Aysgarth and District parish council.
At Thoralby Low Green Lane was blocked as flood water was running across the field to Goose Lane and the tarmac by Town Head Farm was damaged. The county council’s highways department had, however, repaired the blocked drain at Low Gill.
Other works were still outstanding, however, including the painting of double yellow lines by the Falls Country Club at Aysgarth. The clerk was also asked to remind the highways department about the overhanging trees that were obstructing traffic by Chapel Garth in Thoralby.
The community emergency plan was updated.
Aysgarth. – The clerk had been unable to find anyone able to give advice about removing and cleaning the roll of honour plaques on the war memorial. Other advice will be sought.
Newbiggin. – Coun Pearson had sanded down and teak oiled the village noticeboard.
Thornton Rust. – There had been a complaint about the grass being cut on a very wet day which had caused some damage to the village green.
At the October meeting of Aysgarth and District parish council the parish councillors were concerned that it was taking so long for the flood damage to the road surface of the A684 west of Aysgarth to be repaired. One section of the road was so damaged in September that it was cordoned off and traffic lights were installed. County Coun John Blackie said he would discuss this with the county council’s highways department.
The highways department was thanked for clearing the drains and gutters along the B6160 through Bishopdale. But nothing had been done yet about the minor repairs and the cutting back of saplings in and around Aysgarth.
Thoralby. – A JCB had been ordered to clear the ditch along Low Green Lane and an order had been made to remove the bushes at Chapel Garth which were obstructing the highway. The clerk was asked to check the listed building status of the traditional style telephone box in the village. This requires cleaning and painting again, and a broken pane of glass needs replacing. A grant had been approved towards the purchase of a dog refuse bin and the clerk will check that the district council will agree to empty it.
Planning discussion. – All the councillors took part in the discussion about the application to convert a barn behind Highfield at Aysgarth into a three bedroom dwelling and to change the use of some agricultural land to form a garden. Seven supported the application, one was against and two abstained.
County council report. – Coun Blackie spoke about the proposals to cut back the children’s and maternity services at The Friarage hospital in Northallerton and reported on a visit to the West Country to look at similar hospitals at Barnstaple, Dorchester and Yeovil where such services were being operated successfully.
He also reported on the proposed government changes to school funding which would, he said, have a detrimental impact on local secondary and primary schools. The parish council agreed to write to William Hague MP about its concerns regarding any changes.
District council report. – District Coun Yvonne Peacock spoke about the New Homes Bonus Scheme and on the funding available for certain projects.
Parish precept. - The amount required for the precept next year will be discussed at the November meeting.
NOVEMBER - The slow speed of broadband in the area was reported to Aysgarth and District parish council in November by a resident of Thornton Rust.It was noted that there was a project for superfast broadband in Richmondshire and anyone wanting more information about that should contact Chloe Lewis at the district council. The councillors had tried to register their broadband speeds on the county council website but had not been successful.
Aysgarth. – The clerk will write a letter of thanks for the county council’s highways department for repairing the road surface on the A684 west of Aysgarth.
That department is waiting for Yorkshire Water to repair a manhole in Aysgarth. The bent road signs in the village have not yet been repaired. More potholes had appeared in Aysgarth and also near Low Gill.
Bishopdale. – The potholes outside Westgarth and at Kidstones had been inspected and arrangements had been made for these to be repaired.
Thoralby. - It was agreed to accept the offer by the highways department to erect a sign at Cross Lanes stating “unsuitable for large vehicles” to prevent these getting stuck on Cornmill Hill. The verges on that hill will be cut back.
The road surface outside Town Head Farm had been inspected. It had not been possible to operate a digger along Low Green Lane because, when it was taken there, there had been too much flooding.
The district council had confirmed that the cost of providing a dog bin was £174 which would include fitting it.
Green deals. – In the report about the Green Deals Cashback scheme there was the warning that it was essential to apply early as it was a time limited offer and was on a first come first serve basis. This scheme, which is available from January 28, enables householders to claim cash back from the government on energy saving improvements like insulation, front doors, windows and boilers. For details see the DECC website or contact the Energy Savings Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.
Phone boxes. – The phone box at Thoralby will be cleaned and the broken glass replaced. It will be painted in the spring. Of the traditional style phone boxes in the parish, those at Thoralby and Thornton Rust were listed but not that at Aysgarth.
Precept. – It was agreed to increase the precept by £100 to £3850.
Next meeting. – At the meeting at 7.15pm on Wednesday, January 16, at Thornton Rust Institute, the items on the agenda will include: consideration of the clerk’s resignation and the procedure for finding a replacement; a review of the parish council’s expenditure for 2012; and a report about how the plaque on the war memorial in Aysgarth can be cleaned.