Your chance to stand for the county council

Think you could do better in providing local services?…..well here’s your chance.

All six seats representing the Richmondshire District area on North Yorkshire County Council
are up for election on May 4 – and a special briefing session is being set up for election
agents and prospective candidates in March.

The county council is based in Northallerton and is responsible for some of the big spending local services such as education, social care and transports.

Local people are being urged to make a difference to the communities they live in and consider signing up as candidates for the May local elections.

The nearest councillors for this area at the moment are:

  • Helen Grant, Central Richmondshire division, NY Independent.
  • Carl Les, Catterick Bridge division, Conservative.
  • Stuart Parsons, Richmond division, NY Independent.

Anyone thinking of standing as a candidate – or acting as an agent – can attend to get more information on the process and what the role entails.

It takes place on Thursday, 2 March at 2pm at Mercury House, Station Road, Richmond.

Anyone wishing to attend should contact the Elections Team on 01748 901018 – and advise which County Division they are interested in as nomination packs will be distributed that day.

Junction upgrade timetable for Catterick extended

North Yorkshire County Council, the authority which has responsibility for roads, has been in touch with an update and apology about the ongoing road upgrade at Catterick.

In a press release the authority says:

The timetable for the final phase of a £1.6m scheme to upgrade roads around Catterick Garrison to enable housing development and economic growth has been extended.

Work began at the junction of Catterick Road, Byng Road and Horne Road in September. Byng Road and Horne Road have been closed at the A6136 junction to accommodate the work.

While on site, the contractors have found additional utilities that were not previously identified by utility companies. This means it is now necessary to divert or protect more utility cables. To do this safely, the programme has been extended, with completion now expected in early March.

North Yorkshire County Council will continue to work with all contractors involved to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum. The free shuttle bus service will continue to be provided between Hipswell village and Tesco Catterick while the roads are closed.

The work is the final stage of improvements across three junctions that will help to create 1,900 new homes and hundreds of jobs based on a modern Catterick Garrison town centre, as well as improving transport links and fast access to the upgraded A1 motorway and the region’s major cities. Improvements at Catterick Bridge and complementary measures at Scorton crossroads were completed earlier this year. The junction resurfacing and lining will take place at Catterick Bridge next year to coincide with the re-opening of Fort Bridge, currently closed as part of Highway England’s A1 upgrade.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “We apologise for any further inconvenience caused by this unavoidable extension to the works. However, when complete, this major project will provide a package of upgrades along the A6136 corridor that will improve traffic flow between the A1, Colburn and a modern Catterick Garrison town centre. Increasing the capacity of the A6136 will help to support Catterick’s potential for growth.”

Updates about progress with the work and traffic management will be posted online atwww.northyorks.gov.uk/transportschemes.

Richmond’s roads to be treated with loose chippings

Time to slow down and take care of your car’s paintwork – a programme of road surfacing is about to start around Richmond with loose chippings being used.

The programme of surface dressing taking place this month will be taking place at Richmond, Scorton, Brompton-on-Swale, the A684 between Wensley and Leyburn and various locations in the Upper Dales.

The working is being carried out by North Yorkshire Council Council which says it will be improving stretches of the county’s 9,000km of roads with this summer programme.

In a press release, the council says surface dressing offers a “quick, efficient and cost-effective way” of maintaining skid-resistant and waterproof road surfaces, helping to prevent deterioration.

It involves spraying bitumen onto the road surface then covering it with a layer of chippings. The process can extend the life of a road by up to ten years.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for highways, said: “We know surface dressing is not popular with some drivers, mainly because of the loose chippings, which are an inevitable part of the process. However, the speed of the operation and its longer-term benefits – as well as the short time motorists are inconvenienced – are important factors.

“The process is comparatively low-cost at just a fifth of the price of resurfacing, which means we can treat a much larger proportion of the road network each year, preventing the need for much more expensive work later.

“Loose chippings may initially be a problem and that’s why we put in place a 20mph speed limit during the early life of the dressing. It is important that traffic is allowed onto the new surface because chippings need traffic to fully push them into the road. However, it is important that drivers keep to the speed limit to allow the surface to stabilise and avoid damage to their vehicles.”

After dressing, the new surface is left for seven days to allow the chippings to embed, after which any residual chippings can be swept up before road markings are repainted.

The exact locations and closures can be seen on the interactive map at www.northyorks.gov.uk/roadworks.

Changes to Richmond bus services about to start

Two of Richmond’s regular bes services have been changes as the North Yorkshire County Council makes cost-cutting moves.

The affected services include:

  • 55 Richmond – Brompton On Swale – Scorton – Northallerton Service retained with amended timetable, reduction of one off-peak journey from Richmond to Northallerton.
  • 54 Richmond – Catterick – Northallerton
    Section of route between Richmond and Kirkby Fleetham is withdrawn. Service reduced to three off-peak return journeys between Kirkby Fleetham and Northallerton.

The Little White Bus will operate a new community transport service ‘The Richmondshire Rover’ operating four off peak return journeys (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) Catterick Village – Princes Gate/Richmond, and return journey Catterick Village to Northallerton on a Wed and Sat.

The new timetables follow a £500,000 reduction in the county council’s subsidies for some routes as it looks to make £170m of savings between 2011 and 2020 and will be brought into effect from April.

The full timetable information can be accessed here.

Quakers Lane: Questions still outstanding

While Highways officers go back to the drawing board and come up with another set of plans before holding another consultation with local residents, some of the issues raised with the plans to change the flow of traffic on Quakers Lane have yet to be answered.

The most basic of the information needed to make an informed decision is currently the one that appears to be most difficult for the authority to answer – how many accidents have occurred in this location?

We first asked for this information last month when the plans first came to light. As this has not yet been provided, we’ve put in a Freedom of Information(FoI) request to elicit the information. This means the council is obliged by law to respond within 20 days and we will share the result of that here.

Secondly, as councillor Clive World raised during the meeting today – how much are the repeated consultation exercises costing the county council?(taxpayer) Again, we’ll follow that up using the FoI facilities in a bid to find out as no answer was provided at the meeting.

Thirdly, what actions will be take by the police to prevent traffic using the ‘no access’ routes from Hurgill Road and cutting through via the trading estate? This point was raised at the Eppleby meeting by councillor Stuart Parsons who said no action had been taken on proper traffic control.

There may be many more questions that people have about the scheme. Please let us know via the comments below or at the Facebook group and we’ll do our best to look into them.

Video: Councillors discuss Quakers Lane traffic plans

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Councillors gather at Eppleby village hall

Members of the North Yorkshire County Council’s are committee considered the public reactions  to the proposed changes to the road system this morning.

They have received 99 responses from the public about the idea – and are now going back to the drawing board with new plans expected to keep the street as a two-way road but remove some of the available parking bays.

First up, committee chairman and Richmond west councillor Stuart Parsons asked the Highways officer to respond to some of the objections raised by residents since the consultation period had opened.

Central ward councillor Clive World asked about the cost of the consultation for the scheme – and earned approval from the small group of local residents who had made the journey to hear the discussions.

Finally, Richmond west councillor Linda Curran asked whether there had to be an accident for Highways officials to take action. She was hoping that the Victoria Road end of the scheme which would see that junction closed and create a cul-de-sac for local residents could go ahead and not be reliant on another consultation process taking place for the planned changes at the other end of the road.

 

The Highways officer present said the re-consultation that was now needed would include the entire road and so no work would be carried out in the meantime. He said other commitments in the department meant it would be six to eight weeks before residents are asked to look at the new proposals which will include two-way traffic, as now, but with less on-street parking bays allowed.

Please note: The meeting was held in Eppleby village hall which has no wifi and so the clips here were captured on a mobile phone.

Four reasons residents object to Quakers Lane traffic plans

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Map of proposed changes

These four reasons against a change to the traffic system were presented at this morning’s meeting to discuss the Quakers Lane traffic proposals.

Local resident Diane Baines said she was speaking for scores of local residents when she put forward this four point objection:
  1. No problem exists, there have been no accidents or incidents. Why are you trying to fixe something that’s not broken.”
  2. The one-way scheme is based on the premise that on-street parking is used by residents. It is not, it is used by workers avoiding car park charges. Between 6pm and 8am the Quaker Lane is empty.Highways want to impose a 24/7 dangerous alternative to protect 18 part-time spaces.
  3. There is no pavement on the south side of Quaker Lane which means pedestrians from the doctors surgery, playground and co-op footpath set out directly into the traffic. The one-way system will increase traffic speed by removing opposing traffic. No measures have been proposed to protect pedestrian, this one-way system will a danger life.
  4. Cyclists will be forced on to Queens Road and Victoria Road, a far more dangerous route with two roundabouts. This will discourage children from cycling to school, or force them to use Quaker Lane pavement endangering pedestrians.

The North Yorkshire Council Council’s area committee, sitting today in Eppleby village hall, were then asked to abandon the plan. The scheme is now being referred back to the council and it will be at least 6-8 weeks before another consultation process is undertaken.

 

The road experiment which could end the Quakers Lane rat run

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Stuart Parsons

An experimental road layout is being considered by traffic managers which would see Quakers Lane made one-way – going away from the traffic moving onto Queens Road.

The change would also see the entrance to Quakers Lance at Victoria Road closed to traffic, effectively making that short bit of road into a cul-de-sac.

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Map of proposed changes. Map: Google maps

The ideas are being floated by North Yorkshire County Council which has posted consultation details through the doors of residents in the affected areas.

I walked the route with Richmond West councillor Stuart Parsons earlier today to understand the issue.

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Parking at Quakers Lane today

First – the Victoria Road/Quakers Lane junction is currently used as free on-street parking by quite a large number of people. Parsons said this had caused problems for local residents, who couldn’t park their own cars, as well as people walking their children to school along the very narrow footpath.

Parsons said there had been a number of ‘near misses’ between pedestrian and vehicles at the junction and both himself and fellow West ward councillor Linda Curran had received many complaints about the current situation.

We have requested the accident figures from NYCC and are awaiting a response.

Secondly, making Quakers Lane one-way along part of the road. The NYCC plan says this is necessary because “the on-street parking creates a situation which prevents two way traffic flow and could place motorists into conflict with on-coming vehicles.”

This change would mean people still being able to access the doctors’ surgery via Hurgill Road but being unable to progress any further than the junction with Prior Avenue.

Parsons doesn’t feel this would be the best solution and instead seeks to keep the road open to two-way traffic but prevent any parking along the road.

He said: “Hopefully we will get better traffic flow and people will feel less blocked in than they currently do.”

What do you think? Will these changes impact on you? You can comment on the proposals below or contact the county council direct.

If the proposal is accepted it would last for a maximum of 18 months and, because it is experimental, a stop could be called to it at any point. It is unlikely to be brought in before April and will be considered by a future area committee Anyone affected by the moves, not just the nearby residents, can respond to the consultation.

Wheelchair users urged to attend local NHS consultation

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If you use a wheelchair, or other social care equipment, the local NHS wants to hear from you at a special event this month.

Health and social care equipment includes mobility and communication aids that help to support adults and children to live independently at home. Examples include shower chairs, perching stools, kettle tippers, pressure relieving mattresses, wheelchairs, etc.

NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (HRW CCG) are working with other local CCGs and North Yorkshire County Council to gather opinions of local health and social care equipment users to help shape future services.

Dr Charles Parker, HRW CCG Clinical Chair and local GP said: “We want to commission services that are driven by the needs of local people and the views and experiences of service users and patients are fundamental to achieving this.

“CCGs in North Yorkshire and its County Council partners are working together to commission improved equipment and wheelchair services. A series of drop-in sessions in December 2015 and January 2016 have been created to take place across North Yorkshire. We are asking local service users to drop-in and share their views. There is no need to book, just come along.

“For people who are unable to attend the drop-in sessions we have created a survey – this means that everyone has an opportunity to have their say, be it face to face or sharing their views through a series of survey questions.”

The nearest local meeting is at:

Richmondshire
Tuesday 12 January 2016
10.30am – 12.30pm
Penleys

Market Place

Leyburn

DL8 5BJ

The surveys are available online at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/equipmentandwheelchairs

Hard copies of the survey are also available and can be requested by phoning 01904 555 870 or emailing valeofyork.contactus@nhs.net

Richmond’s ‘hospital bus’ (Route 54) due to be cuts casualty

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Richmond’s ‘hospital bus’ , the Number 54 to Northallerton, is expected to be re-routed and run between Kirby Fleetham and Northallerton only.

Currently it runs via Richmond and Catterick giving passengers a public transport link to the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.

County councillors are being asked to approve the change this morning as part of changes to implement £0.5m in cuts to local bus services across many areas.

A county council spokeswoman said the service has been revised to operate between Kirkby Fleetham and Northallerton in response to comments received and the county council has invited communities to express a preference.

In a press release issued to explain the changes, North Yorkshire County Council said:

Although 85% of bus journeys in North Yorkshire are made on commercial services, which are self-financing, the council still provides over £2m per year to fund additional services. The council’s executive had asked for proposals to reduce this to £1.5m.

A report setting out revised plans for maintaining more services than initially proposed will be considered by the Transport, Economy and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee at their meeting on the 14th October.

As part of the consultation council officers listened hard to what members of the community told them in numerous drop-in sessions, public and parish council meetings across the North Yorkshire. The council also received over 1200 written responses to the consultation.

As a result of these consultations we appreciate more than ever how important our network of rural bus services is to those people who use them” said County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for public transport. “We understand people’s concerns about protecting access to essential services and maintaining social contact.

“Retaining a bus network across a large rural county like ours is crucially important to those of our residents who have little or no access to other means of transport. Following the feedback we received we have been able to make changes aimed at addressing some of the issues which have been raised with us.”

There is still chance to make representations as the moves need to go before the County Council’s Executive on December 8 in order to be implemented in April 2016.

The only Richmondshire county councillor to sit on the transport sub-committee is councillor Michael Heseltine (Cons) he can be contacted on 01748 811843 or by email to cllr.michael.heseltine@northyorks.gov.uk.