MP ‘quietly hopeful’ for signs campaigners

Ripon MP Julian Smith has taken the campaign to keep Masham on the map to the new Transport Secretary.

Mr Smith met Justine Greening to discuss the need for brown signs promoting the town on the upgraded A1(M).

Businesses, shops and residents have backed the campaign for Masham to be sign-posted from the motorway, directing visitors to the area’s shops and tourist destinations.

Mr Smith said: “I had a very productive meeting with the new Transport Secretary at Westminster.

“She assured me that the Brown Signs Review is well underway and was very sympathetic to the issue I described in Masham.

“She knows the area well and I am quietly hopeful that we will get the result we want eventually. I will continue to press Ministers to ensure that we get Masham back on the map.”

The MP has had success in the campaign in recent months, with temporary signs to Masham during the A1 roadworks improved and brown signs to Ripon area attractions like Lightwater Valley and Newby Hall installed.

Richard Compton, owner of Newby Hall and Deputy President of the Historic Houses Association, said: “Julian’s help in raising the profile of the issues surrounding brown tourism signs has been invaluable.  We strongly welcomed the Government’s commitment to reformulate the rules on brown signs and look forward to the development of a national policy to use signs actively to support tourist destinations.

“Tourism is a huge economic and regenerative driver for a region’s economy and signage is an important way of developing the tourism market, generating new visitors to heritage properties.”

In September, Mr Smith wrote to the then-Transport Secretary Philip Hammond on the subject, with a petition signed by 57 Masham businesses.