News From Harrogate, Boroughbridge, Knaresborough, Masham, Pateley Bridge & Ripon
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See below the latest news for Harrogate & Districts with local news and information in your area. Find out what’s happening in Harrogate at the Harrogate Guide covering Harrogate, Boroughbridge, Knaresborough, Masham, Pateley Bridge & Ripon.
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MP backs unified North Yorkshire devolution bid to rebuild future
A strong and unified North Yorkshire Council in partnership with the City of York under a directly elected mayor is the best chance of rebuilding “our bruised communities” according to Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill. In an open letter published this week, Robert Goodwill stated that following the coronavirus pandemic there was a need to push ahead with devolution for the region and that an elected mayor for York and North Yorkshire would be “essential in attracting investment, supporting business and protecting and creating jobs as we rebuild our bruised communities.” In his letter, he said that the choice was clear between the two rival bids currently before the Secretary of State and that he saw “no value” in splitting the county in two East/West as proposed by the District Councils and opposed by the City of York. He said: “You need the strength, scale and experience that a new unitary North Yorkshire would provide, working on the county’s current footprint, as proposed by North Yorkshire County Council. “This way you would replace the current wasteful and confusing two-tier system of local government and create one council for the entire county working in partnership with the City of York to create a devolved authority under an elected mayor. It would be a powerful voice in the North.”
He went on: “We may not all agree with Andy Burnham but no one could doubt that he gave his citizens in Greater Manchester a strong voice to challenge decisions made centrally and speak up for those who elected him.” The MP said the pandemic had demonstrated how resourceful and able the people of North Yorkshire could be in a crisis: “Our emergency services and NHS have made us proud and our Local Government has been crucial in maintaining vital services and delivering Central Government programmes to support individuals and businesses. “I have worked with the County Council throughout the current Covid crisis. They have stepped up to the mark in an impressive way - whilst continuing to deliver nationally acclaimed services for children and frail residents across the county. “I have studied the County’s financial case before Government and I believe it to be realistic and achievable. Its proposed partnership with York – benefiting the County and City but maintaining their unique character – is also cost-efficient, saving up to £67 million a year to plough back into services and lowering Council Tax bills! “I support the bid that protects brand North Yorkshire; that delivers the greatest financial savings; that maintains outstanding services; that has leadership to lead in a crisis; that has the size, scale and resilience necessary to service a county as rural as North Yorkshire. That makes absolute sense to me.”
He said he was heartened by the fact the way the County Council’s own officers put together its unitary bid for the Secretary of State “from their deep knowledge of delivering excellent services to every person in North Yorkshire – something none of the Districts have experienced. “ The MP also supported the county council’s proposal to increase local empowerment as part of the bid. He said:“Scarborough and Harrogate will benefit by the proposals to strengthen and widen the role of town and parish councils in decisions like planning. People in Scarborough itself, unlike the rest of my constituents, do not have a town or parish council. Nor do the people of Harrogate. The proposals will therefore also increase local accountability.”
North Yorkshire is proposing a budget which recognises the financial difficulties that many residents are facing because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but which also seeks to protect vital front line services. The Budget for 2021/22 to be considered by the County Council’s Executive next week, includes use of one-off emergency government funding and use of just over £8m of the Council’s own internal funds next year.
Councillors will hear that North Yorkshire faces a projected cash shortfall of £59m by 2023/24 and that while use of reserves is not sustainable, it is necessary next year due to major uncertainties and a squeezed savings programme as a direct result of Covid. This comes on the back of an extra £82m of spending in response to Covid in the last year alone. Cllr Carl Les, North Yorkshire’s Leader said: “We hope to be clearer later in the year about the legacy of Covid, the Government’s decision on local government reorganisation in North Yorkshire and the future of council funding beyond 2022.
“The times have never been so uncertain, and given these uncertainties it is critical that the Council maintains as much flexibility as possible in order to protect vital services whilst being able to respond to further potential shocks. “We understand that residents are facing many difficulties in the light of Covid. We also understand just how vital some of the council’s services are to the most vulnerable in society.”
For this reason the council says it is trying “to get the balance right” by setting adult social care precept at 1.5% rather than the 3% permitted by Government. The Executive is recommended to agree that a general council tax increase of 1.99% is supplemented with a 1.5% social care precept leading to a total council tax increase of 3.49 per cent. “We think it is right that we use reserves at this point,” said Cllr Les, “so we can avoid rushing into savings that may be at the expense of services to some of our most vulnerable residents.
“We are also making sure that we can find extra money to support those residents who find themselves in the greatest financial difficulty eg initiatives such as the Local Assistance Fund and the support provided to Community Support Organisations. “We cannot rule out the possibility that the council may need to set a further budget later in the year once we are clearer about key issues.
“In the meantime, it is important that we all focus on doing the right things to deal with Covid, support people in our communities, help colleagues in the NHS to deliver the vaccination programme and prepare for the recovery in the wake of Covid.”
A council tax increase of 3.49 per cent would lead to an average Band D council tax level of £1,411.05 for 2021/22
Village Halls Week 2021 will recognise the contribution England’s 10,000+ halls have made to rural communities since the 1920s.
The national campaign week - now in its fourth year – is set to take place 25 to 29 January and will feature online events, videos, podcasts, and blogs showcasing the history of village halls and the benefits they have derived for rural communities over the years. The initiative is being championed locally by Community First Yorkshire, a charity that provides support and advice to 971 village halls found across York, North, South and West Yorkshire.
David Sharp, Chairman of Community First Yorkshire Board of Trustees said; “This year has seen the marking of the Centenary of the establishment of the first rural community council (as the forerunners to the ACRE Network were originally called) in Oxfordshire, which was followed soon after by several others - with Yorkshire just a few short years behind. This was as a result of a new initiative by the Government of the day to support rural communities to get back on their feet after the devastation they suffered with the loss of so many of their young men in the First World War and presumably also the impact of the Spanish Flu epidemic which followed in 1919/20. ”100 years on and Coronavirus has had a massive impact on our local halls and community buildings, with many having to close, or partially close and lose vital funds. The hall committees have had to continually keep updated with the ever changing guidance and restrictions, and put new policies and procedures in place for their halls, this has taken its toll on many of our members, so this chance to celebrate the great work that they do, the vitalness of halls to local communities and to showcase the history of the halls is a very welcome opportunity to shout about their importance.”
Community First Yorkshire support community buildings and village halls across York, North, South and West Yorkshire more information can be found on their website www.communityfirstyorkshire.org.uk. We also have a peer support group on Facebook for any committee member of a community building or village hall, which offers many valuable insights, tips and information on anything from funding to advice on insurance and hire agreements, as well as lots of coronavirus guidance at the moment. Managed by volunteers, England’s 10,000+ village and community halls support a diverse range of community activities from exercise classes to coffee mornings and are routinely hired out for private parties and weddings. Some host community shops and post offices.
In a survey undertaken by national charity Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) last year, it was found that 60% of village halls provide the only meeting space in the local community. An estimated 50,000 individuals are also reliant on the use of village halls to make a living. Phillip Vincent, Public Affairs and Communications Manager for ACRE said, “The current national lockdown means we are having to do things differently for Village Halls Week 2021. This will be an online affair but there’s still good opportunity for village halls to get involved and join us in celebrating all the work they do. We’ve published a programme that invites people to join online events, share stories on social media and sign a ‘doomsday book’ which will be a record of village halls in their centenary year.”
The County Council has been working extensively with schools to identify gaps in digital provision since the switch to remote learning was announced by the Government.
Schools, pupil referral units and academy trusts have now been invited to place orders for more devices directly from the Department for Education. They can apply for devices for children in Years 3 to 11 who do not have access to a laptop or tablet in their home, or whose only device is a mobile phone. Children are also eligible for a laptop if they have to work on a device shared with more than one other family member in their home.
The ordering process was opened to secondary schools last week and primary schools were also then invited to place their orders.
In the meantime, children who cannot access a device or online learning can attend school for face-to-face teaching.
Remote learning is a mixture of online teaching and off-line tasks and will continue to follow the national curriculum and exam-based learning. It is tailored towards the age groups being taught and not just limited to teaching in real time, or working online, but also off-line working.
To ensure children are working safely online, the County Council has issued a model guidance policy for remote learning for all schools.
Amanda Newbold, Assistant Director for Education and Skills said: “We have completed a digital survey across all our schools in North Yorkshire to ascertain need. As a follow-up, we are encouraging our schools to ensure that they apply for their Department for Education entitlement of digital devices and we currently exploring ways of providing further support.
“The Government has updated its definition of vulnerable pupils to extend to children who cannot access devices or online learning.
“The wider scope of pupils able to attend school during this latest lockdown has not yet caused problems with classrooms reaching an unsafe limit – schools are still following robust risk assessments to make sure schools are safe places.
“But we would still ask people to be mindful of the fact that one of the reasons for switching to remote learning for the majority of children is to reduce transmission rates and – if they can make alternative arrangements – to do so.
“Currently overall attendance rates at schools in North Yorkshire is on average about 16 per cent, which is roughly in line with attendance towards the end of the last lockdown.”
Cllr Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Education and Skills said: “Since the Government announced a move to remote learning at the start of the January term, teaching staff have worked incredibly hard to make this happen. Every child in North Yorkshire should now have access to remote learning, either from home or in school. I would like to pay tribute to everyone involved for their part in making this happen.”
Parents, carers and pupils cannot apply for digital devices or internet access through this scheme themselves. They should contact their school to discuss requirements for accessing remote education.
FREE MEDIATION FOR COUPLES IN HARROGATE
This week is Family Mediation Week – an initiative that aims to raise awareness of mediation and how it can help separating families manage their issues collaboratively and productively.
One Harrogate law firm is offering a free mediation session to anyone struggling with relationship issues.
Rachel Spencer Robb is a partner and head of LCF Barber Titleys’s Family Law team. She has more than 20 years’ experience dealing exclusively with family law issues and is a qualified mediator, as well as an Accredited Specialist of Resolution.
She said: “A recent survey has revealed that children who witness their recently divorced parents arguing are more likely to suffer from mental health issues. With divorce rates in the UK on the rise, it’s essential parents consider counselling services mediation and get specialist legal advice on the practical and emotional consequences of divorcing from an early stage to protect all parties – especially the children.”
The aim of family mediation is to encourage separating couples to sit down together and work out solutions to the financial and family-based issues that can be part of separation or divorce. The goal is for both partners to come to an amicable agreement which suits everyone involved, avoiding the costs – literally and figuratively – of bitter battles in court.
Rachel added: “Mediation can help to secure a far better outcome for couples and children – it tends to be quicker, less costly and less combative than resolving issues through court or solicitors. Many couples going through a separation or divorce don’t know that family mediation is an option for them or are unaware of the advantages of mediation over its alternatives.
“The lockdowns are being blamed for the increase in divorce, but we have found that if relationships were in difficulty anyway, then the lockdowns have simply magnified the problems. The additional pressures of home-schooling children, financial worries and so on, have brought forward what in all likelihood would have occurred in any event. What’s important is that people are made award of the benefits of family mediation. We would encourage separating couples to consider family mediation as a way of helping them take control, make decisions together and build a more collaborative future for their family, which is why we are offering these free sessions.”
The new national lockdown means fewer people are traveling, so from Sunday 10 January we’ll be using temporary timetables – built around the needs of key workers, based on your feedback throughout the last year.
All our routes will continue to run, just a little less often on some routes around shopping hours, so we can still make sure key workers can get to work and your essential journeys can be made.
We will still be running over 80% of our usual journeys and first and last bus times remain the same.
Here in Harrogate, we have changes to the 1, 2A, 2B, 3, 6, X6, 7 and The 36 as below. The 8, 21 and 24 timetables are staying as they are now, and you can check those times here or on our app Transdev Go.
Monday to Friday – every 10 minutes in the day and 20 minutes in the evening
Saturdays – every 20 minutes in the day and 30 minutes in the evening
Sundays – every 30 minutes in the day and every hour in the evening
On a Saturday evening and all day on Sundays, buses will show the number 1, and run along a route through Knaresborough which combines Aspin, Eastfield and Carmires. You can check a map here.
Monday to Friday – two buses an hour through the day, and one bus an your on an evening
Saturdays and Sundays – every hour
Monday to Friday – ever hour
Saturdays and Sundays – every hour
Monday to Friday – every 20 minutes in the day and every hour in the evening
Saturdays – every 30 minutes
Sundays – every hour
Monday to Friday – every 45 minutes in the day, no evening journeys. X6 is running to the normal times.
Saturdays – every 45 minutes
Sundays – every hour
Our Harrogate Electrics Sunday Freeway promotion will be paused during the lockdown. Thank you to everyone that travelled on our free buses in December. With the support of our friends at Harrogate BID we hope to be back with the Sunday Freeway in the Spring.
Monday to Friday – every 30 minutes to Wetherby and hour to Leeds in the daytime, every hour in the evening
Saturdays and Sundays – every hour
Monday to Friday – every 15 minutes to Leeds and 30 minutes to Ripon in the day, every 30 minutes in the evening
Saturdays – every 15 minutes to Leeds and 30 minutes to Ripon in the day, every hour in the evening
Sundays – every 30 minutes to Leeds and every 60 minutes to Ripon
If you have purchased a ticket that you will no longer use because of the lockdown, please send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pause your ticket, so you can use it when you start travelling again.
If the journey you need to make is difficult or not possible using our new temporary timetables, please let us know by emailing email@example.com and we’ll do our best to help.
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Due to the current weather conditions, waste and recycling collections will now be a day later*.
*This schedule may change if the adverse weather continues.