Major boost for signs campaign

The Keep Masham on the Map campaign has scored a major boost for the town, just in time for the biennial Arts Festival.

More temporary signs to Masham are to be put up along the A1 between junction 50 with the A61 and the B6267 at Sinderby, to help drivers approaching Masham from the south find their way into the town.

The original signs along the route were removed when work began to upgrade the dual carriage, prompting fears that businesses would see their takings drop as tourists struggled to find the area.

Masham’s MP Julian Smith joined a group of traders in the area to campaign for the signs to be reinstated.

Now Highways Agency officials have written to the MP confirming that more signs were to be put up on the A1 from junction 50, with the A61, to Sinderby, and will be in place in time for Masham Arts Festival this week.

Highways Agency contractors have been asked to “rationalise” the current temporary signs to Masham to avoid confusion, and will also increase the size of the signs and erect “repeater” signs along the roadside.

Julian Smith said:

“I am pleased that the Highways Agency have listened to the concerns of residents and businesses in and around Masham and are improving the temporary signage from the A1 upgrade roadworks.

“It is particularly important that during next week’s Arts Festival visitors can easily find their way to the town. I hope these improvements do make a difference but if people continue to be concerned, please let me know.”

Flo Grainger runs the Old Station Caravan Park in Masham and has been working with the campaign to get improved signage along the upgraded A1.

“I’m delighted really. My daughter and I came back from Leeds last Thursday night and even knowing the road very well we had great difficulty finding our way back to Masham.

“The fact that Julian Smith was able to get some more temporary signs put up is wonderful.”

Campaigners are now waiting to hear the outcome of a petition for permanent signs on the new A1, which has been sent to the Transport Secretary.

Work on the A6108 bridge over the Ure has also been postponed to avoid a clash with the Arts Festival, Mrs Grainger added.

Highways officials at North Yorkshire County Council have confirmed the bridge will now be closed at nights only from mid-November, with warning signs going up a week before work begins.