Agenda item

Public questions or statements

Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice and provided the text to Nicki Lishman of Democratic Services (contact details below) no later than midday on Tuesday, 19 March 2024. Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item.  Members of the public who have given notice will be invited to speak:

·         at this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);

·          when the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting.


If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chairman who will instruct those taking a recording to cease whilst you speak.


There were two questions from members of the public.


Question from Andrew Loftus

In your last council meeting you were told that 94% of North Yorkshire was connected to Superfast Broadband.


I live in Sessay a village south of Thirsk with approximately 500 residents.  Both my wife and I work from home and rely on a good internet connection to work. We also run a holiday let from our premises.  We don’t have Superfast Broadband and our internet connection regularly drops and has failed on at least 4 occasions this year.  When this occurs we are unable to work and we receive numerous complaints from our guests.


We have been told recently that only a small proportion of the village will be offered a full fibre connection in what is described as Phase 3.  Our house and my neighbour John’s who is with me today, are not included in phase 3


We are being told we will be offered as part of Phase 4, a fixed Wireless Access solution being offered by North Yorkshire County Council and their partner Quickline Communications Ltd. This solution has been described on your partner’s Quickline Communication Ltd website as for “hard to reach areas” and may be limited if there are any obstructions as it is a line of site technology.


3 years ago Sessay school was connected to a fibre cable that was laid through the village and past our houses. At the same time “nodes” used to connect houses to a fibre connection were installed on telephone poles outside our houses.


When this proposal was approved why did North Yorkshire County council not suggest that the village infrastructure was upgraded to fibre by either using this cable or another cable laid at the same time?   Why are we being treated unfairly and being offered what we consider to be an inferior solution, when we live on the same road as other houses being offered a full fibre connection.


Response from Transformation

The Superfast programme has made significant improvements and the programme maximises reach wherever it is possible.  However, it is a complex process with multiple factors at play which can cause limitations.  These limitations may be due to the topography of the land, the ownership and availability of the land and assets and also the funding streams. While it is clearly frustrating to see build nearby that cannot be accessed, the school infrastructure that is mentioned was limited to the public sector buildings under the rural schools programme and cannot legally be used for residential. 


We do understand that there is more to do, and the next steps for extending gigabit capable broadband are underway with the BDUK led Project Gigabit.   North Yorkshire is in ‘lot 31’ for this project and Sessay is in the initial scope of this.  This is due for procurement award in April - June this year, after which we will know whether your premises has been chosen for installation.  The best option at the moment is the Fixed Wireless Access option. 


Project Gigabit do publish quarterly updates on their website which may be of interest.  The latest one is available here You can see here that this is targeted intervention for properties that are hard to reach such as those classified as rural and those with access to only sub-superfast connections.


Supplementary question/statement from Andrew Loftus

Whilst I appreciate the fibre cable laid for the village school can't be used, why wasn't the village infrastructure updated when this cable was laid eg by laying another cable.  Also why were fibre nodes installed throughout the village at the same time the school cable was laid.  These nodes support fibre connectivity to all the houses in the village.


We live on the same road as houses being offered full fibre. A fibre cable and conduit that could be used for additional fibre cables is within metres of our boundary wall. A telegraph pole with a node for fibre connection is within 5-10 metres of our property.


We don't want your proposed fixed wireless solution which makes no sense, is not suitable for property ie we are surrounded by trees etc. Fixed wireless will only be available through one provider. How is a fair offering when they can set the price they want for the service with no other competitors? Why are we being offered an inferior solution to our neighbours living on the same road as us?


The Rt Hon Kevin Hollinrake suggested a meeting be held in Sessay with all parties involved for Phase 4, to consider this issue.


Question from Sue Cowan

As Social Exclusion for the elderly due to lack of transport is now strongly highlighted in all transport planning services, can I ask what is being done to get the desperately needed town bus service in Filey replaced and eliminate the biggest cause of social exclusion and loss of independence for the elderly residents of Filey. Some of whom are over 90 and can’t afford taxis just wanting to be independent. 3 days a week would suffice. The current idea of volunteer car drivers will not work as many of them have walking implements and other accessories.


Response from Integrated Passenger Transport

Filey Town Service was operated on a wholly commercial basis by Olympic Coaches.  The service ended in May 2023 when the owner of Olympic Coaches retired.  The Council looked for another bus company to take over the route but the was no interest and no bids were received to run a replacement service.


Filey is still served by Service 12 (East Yorkshire Buses) operating daily between Scarborough – Filey – Bridlington, and Service 555 (Shoreline Suncruiser Buses) operating hourly between Filey and Scarborough. Scarborough Dial-a-Ride will also provide wheelchair accessible journeys for longer distance health appointments.


Integrated Passenger Transport is currently investigating the feasibility of a volunteer car scheme in the Filey area to support the current long distance health appointment journeys offered by Scarborough Dial-a-Ride. Volunteer car schemes provide pre-booked door to door transport to suit individual needs and can be used for short local journeys as well as longer trips.  They are very flexible, accommodating different passengers and are often used for hospital appointments, shopping and leisure.


Following further discussion on the issue, it was suggested by Kevin Hollinrake and agreed that a meeting would be arranged with all interested parties to consider the matter further.