Location:     The Village Hall, Beckwithshaw


Present:       Councillors – Cllr M Nicholson (Chairman), Cllr T Muirhead, Cllr Mrs K Wilson, Cllr D Spence and Cllr Miss V Oldham.


Parish Clerk – Mrs J H Galloway


Commencing at 7.45pm the Open Meeting was held, 5 member of the public were present.



1.                 Apologies:             Cllr M Clark, Cllr Mrs J Ryder and Cllr S Lumley.


2.                 Minutes of the last Open Meeting:     


The minutes of the last Open Meeting were incorporated into the immediately following Parish Meeting (9 May 2017).


3.                 Chairman’s Report:


Thank you for attending our Open Meeting and a very warm welcome to you all.


Firstly I would like to thank my fellow Parish Councillors for their continuing support and a special vote of thanks must go to our Parish Clerk Mrs Jean Galloway.


This last year has been busy for the Parish Council with the formation of the Local District Plan.  The progress has been watched over for us by Councillor Michael Clark who has been excellent at putting forward the Parish Councils’ point of view.  A big thank you to Michael.


With the help of funding from Knabbs Ridge, we have now got a defibrillator installed at The Smiths Arms with kind permission of the brewery and Nick Lloyd, and Andy Ross has very kindly volunteered to be the ‘guardian’.  Thank you to all involved.


Speeding and traffic in the village has been a huge concern to the Parish Council for many years and to this end we are very grateful to Jo Parish and her speedwatch team who have stood on the roadside to collect data on the speed of traffic to help persuade North Yorkshire police and Highways that we have a traffic problem.  In meetings we have had with these authorities they are very reluctant to admit that we have a problem.


We have instigated the possibility of installing flashing speed signs in the village, extending the 30mph limit area and reducing the speed limit past the school.  Sadly, we have met strong resistance from the police and North Yorkshire Highways.  With the help of our traffic working party we are revising our strategy.  We have not given up!


Planning issues are a major part of our duties and when applications come before us we must balance the needs of progress with the needs of the local environment whilst keeping within the parameters of planning law.  There is truth in the statement “you can’t please everyone”.


Broadband has never been very good in Beckwithshaw although there has been some improvement in some areas.  Councillor Tom Muirhead has taken on the case for the Shaw Lane area and this, with the involvement of North Rigton Parish Council and other local residents, is ongoing.


We have carried out litter picks both spring and autumn and a huge thank you to all residents and Councillors who have helped in this task.  It is very sad that the litter picks are necessary but without them our surrounding road sides would become very unsightly and more littering would be encouraged.  We have arranged for our spring litter pick to take place this coming Saturday, 14th April, starting at 10.00am in the village hall car park.  Please come and help us.


We carry out an annual inspection of Parish Council Property and have a contractor in place for the maintenance of the area of grass opposite Shaw Lane.  The work in the copse is carried out by volunteers.  Again, a big thank you to all who have helped.


Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the workings of the Parish Council this last year.


4.       Questions from the floor:


There was a discussion on concern about speeding traffic.


Below is the record of the meeting with Darren Griffiths North Yorkshire CC Highways and Jonathan Hunter, Traffic Management Officer NYP on Monday 19th March 2018 at 2pm in the Smiths Arms Car Park. Also present: Mark Nicholson (Chair BPC), Derek Spence (BPC), Jim Gordon (BSW), Andy Ross (BSW), Jo Parish (BSW)


We were informed that the Parish Council cannot erect our own flashing signs as these would not conform to current NYCC Highways regulations. Nor can we attach anything to any existing roadside poles.  This may change as a result of the ongoing consultation of Parishes but it will be later in the year before things change – if at all. It was mentioned that the data output of the sign we had been considering was also very difficult to sift through and we may not be able to subject it to any form of analysis.


It seems the best way to slow down through traffic is by having parked vehicles along the roadside – some villages had considered buying an old vehicle and parking it permanently in an area where they wanted traffic calming!


The Parish Council could ‘hire’ a flashing sign from NYCC on a rotational basis for £6,000 plus VAT over four years.  This cost would include the provision of the sign, the siting of it, a socket and post and officer time to install it each time.  For this the village would get 6 weeks on and 12 weeks off and it would thus be deployed 3 times a year costing approx. £77 per week it was working in our village.  This would be guaranteed to work during all that time and any downtime due to lamps failing would be made up by NYCC.


Records show that we have had no accidents in the village over the past 2 /3 years. This was explained as ‘no reported accidents causing injury’.  The fatality at the roundabout seems to be considered a possible ‘suicide’.  All sites are visited after an accident to see if road layout has been a factor. Thus it would appear that a ‘collision with no report of injury’ would not be taken into account.  These could be happening regularly but the police would be unaware of them.


The Highways representatives were then asked what we ‘could’ do to move things along.  Beckwithshaw would be eligible for another data logging event from April and suggested that we apply for this straight away to get it in the pipeline.  We are to contact them again if we are asked to wait for any length of time.  We can request a particular site for the data logger (small box attached to an existing roadside pole) but not the full data output as we do not have the software to ‘decode’ it. If the result showed that we are consistently seeing speeds in the mid 30’s we would be eligible for visits by a speed van or a bike! But nothing else as we have not had ‘accidents’.


Alternatively, or additionally,  we can pay NYCC £120 for data tubes laid across the road at either end of the village for seven days and nights which would log all vehicles and peak times and all speed bands. We would receive all the data and be able to analyse it and could use this to back up any future requests for road improvements. This can be done at any time we ask for it.


A point of note is that through NYP Operation Spartan, dash-cam footage is acceptable when reporting a speeding offence. Dash cam footage showing poor driving habits of any sort can be emailed directly to OpSpartan@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk


Regarding moving the speed limit signs and getting 20mph near the school this would also appear to be a negative option at the moment.  We were pointed towards a Govt website which explains how local speed limits are set and which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/setting-local-speed-limits.  The following extract may give us some hope but the whole publication requires reading through.


Traffic authorities set local speed limits in situations where local needs and conditions suggest a speed limit which is lower than the national speed limit. Traffic authorities have the flexibility to set local speed limits that are appropriate for the individual road, reflecting local needs and taking account of local considerations.

Speed limits should be evidence-led and self-explaining and seek to reinforce people’s assessment of what is a safe speed to travel. They should encourage self-compliance. Speed limits should be seen by drivers as the maximum rather than a target speed.

Traffic authorities are asked to keep their speed limits under review with changing circumstances, and to consider the introduction of more 20 miles per hour limits and zones, over time, in urban areas and built-up village streets that are primarily residential, to ensure greater safety for pedestrians and cyclists, using the criteria contained in this guidance.


Unfortunately we are among many parishes who are increasingly concerned about slowing down the traffic through their villages.


The Open Meeting closed at 8.05pm