Peter Phillips column: New year begins with many old and new challenges

Peter and Pauline Phillips with David Pearson and his 1957 Ferguson tractory outside Ripon cathedral.

Hope it’s not too late to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Just before Christmas Pauline and I were delighted to be invited to Boroughbridge High School where I presented the Town Council Community Award to Kate Cannon. Well done Kate, a real pleasure to award young people for their efforts and hard work in the community.

The start of a new year brings the start of many challenges old and new. Over the Christmas period it has been very disappointing to see a rise in anti-social behaviour. However, I have been working hard with the community policing team in Boroughbridge to ensure we get on top of the problem, with some good results. These details can not be disclosed for obvious reasons. Furthermore the 101 non-emergency phone line is now working much better and the call back system appears to be working. So please use it! There is still no news of the closure of the police station on New Row, but the team’s mobile technology is filtering through and seems to be a success so far.

On the down side to all this is the news that Harrogate Borough Council will finally be cutting off our BT connection for our town’s CCTV in April. In response to this the town council are in the process of gaining quotes for a new state of the art system. This system will produce high definition footage with the nerve centre based securely in the town council office where the police will have full access. There is however some way to go as we will have of course to comply to all current legislation and the capital cost could be as much as £25,000, most of which has already been made available. Before we embark on such a project we shall be taking into account your views and comments. Look out for the survey dropping through your letterbox in the next few weeks and it will also be made available on our council’s website. I will give further details in the coming weeks. However as I write this article I learn that our cameras have been inadvertently switched off. I have asked Harrogate Borough Council for an immediate investigation and for them to be turned back on with immediate effect.

Now on to some more positive news. At the end of last year the town council applied for a grant made available from Harrogate Borough Council. Our first application was successful so just after the new year I met with representatives from the borough council to make final preparations for demolishing our “blot on the landscape” the Water Rat Club building. All being well this should be completed in the next few months. We are also hopeful that our second application to provide a much needed bus shelter will also come to fruition before the end of the financial year.

It was good news and bad news time with regards to the planned motorway service area at Kirby Hill. Firstly, the news that they had withdrawn the application and then news that it has been re-submitted.

My community awards nominations period has now closed. Nominations are now being collated to establish possible winners. I shall be announcing the date and venue for the awards ceremony soon.

On Sunday Pauline and I attended the Plough service at Ripon Cathedral where local man David Pearson displayed his 1957 Ferguson tractor and plough that was first registered in Ripon and spent most of its working life at local farms in Norton-le Clay and Staveley. It was nice to see it stood next to the very impressive new John Deere tractor.

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