Agenda item

Public Questions or Statements

Anyone who would like to ask a question or make a statement at the meeting should email notice of their wish to do so, including the full text of what they intend to say, to as soon as possible, and by midday on Monday 13 September at the latest.  Speakers are each asked not to exceed 3 minutes’ speaking time and to read out only the statement/question of which they have submitted notice, without adding to or altering it.  No person may submit more than one question or statement.  No more than one question may be asked, or statement made, on behalf of one organisation.  The overall time available for public questions or statements is 30 minutes.


If you are asking a question or making a statement 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.


Considered –


Two members of the public had given notice to make a statement or ask a question at this meeting.  One notice was from Kevin Douglas (Chair of Harrogate and District Cycle Action) and related to a statement which had been presented to this meeting during consideration of the item of business ‘Receipt of Petition “Remove the barriers blocking Beech Grove and Lancaster Road, Harrogate and stop this proposed LTN”’.  The second notice was from Mr Christopher Dunn (resident of Bilton) and comprised a lengthy statement and a question.  Mr Dunn’s statement and question were put to the meeting at this stage.


Mr Christopher Dunn – Use of the Highways


At Mr Dunn’s request, a precis of his statement, together with his question, were presented to the meeting by County Councillor Don Mackenzie, as follows:-


Mr Dunn questions “the lack of fortitude, resilience, legal duty and obligations” by North Yorkshire County Council to citizens, especially to disabled people.  He feels the Council has abandoned all classes of highway in the County.  Many urban, unnamed back streets, according to Mr Dunn, are blocked by parked cars, wheelie bins and caravans.  He feels there is too much pavement parking and he gives examples on the A59 and on Hall Lane in Bilton.  He feels that road surface signage needs to be repainted.  Mr Dunn gives a further example of a UCI cycle team whose Winnebago’s were parked and camped illegally on Harlow Moor Road in 2019.  Mr Dunn claims that both Harrogate Borough and North Yorkshire County Councils ignored the mess that was left and Mr Dunn cleared it up himself.  Mr Dunn then goes on to give a list of examples were utility companies abused highway rights by obstructing pavements for wheelchair users.  He suggests that Yorkshire Water has excavated without consulting with local residents.  He criticises North Yorkshire County Council for abandoning proper drain cleaning which he described as “outrageous”.  He gives an example on the A61 in Killinghall where a massive hedge is overgrown and blocking signage.  Finally, Mr Dunn claims that the North Yorkshire County Council allows illegal obstructions to its Public Rights of Way network.  The question at the end of Mr Dunn’s statement is “When will North Yorkshire County Council assert its legal authority to end verge-jacking and allow non-car users to have a clear passage on their highway”.


Melisa Burnham (Area Manager – Area 6) thanked Mr Dunn for bringing these highway matters to the Committee’s attention and advised that a number of the matters had been discussed historically with Mr Dunn by the relevant service areas including the Area 6 Highways Team, Street Works, and Countryside Access Service.  Melisa Burnham then provided, for the meeting, an update on each of the items raised by Mr Dunn.


The Chairman thanked Melisa Burnham for providing a very full and lengthy reply.  He asked Ruth Gladstone (Principal Democratic Services Officer), on behalf of Melisa Burnham, to send Mr Dunn a copy of the many points in Melisa Burnham’s response and advised that Mr Dunn was very welcome to correspond with the Area 6 Highways Team. 


Mr Dunn was given an opportunity to ask a supplementary question.  Mr Dunn spoke as follows:- “Whilst it is appreciated that the sheer size of North Yorkshire and the volume of highways of all classes, especially Public Rights of Way, prevents adequate policing, I urge the North Yorkshire County Council:- (a) to fortify, instruct and support all legal and highway officials, especially those frontline site engineers, in order to prevent highway obstruction, misuse, abuse, verge encroachments and any utility disrespect of engineering and reinstatement; (b) instruct their Public Rights of Way Department to desist from immediately prompting, accepting and supporting the diversions of footpaths when confronted by landowner obstructions or illegal diversions as it shows weakness and apathy.  I also ask that, following a rambler’s own response to official consultation regarding a diversion and apathy towards this particular path, your Public Rights of Way Department do disregard this body, ie the Ramblers, because of their lack of response to an official consultation.  Please investigate immediately as to why thousands of un-cleared road drains were apparently left abandoned by your previous contractor.  Finally, please give the disabled a good deal”.


County Councillor Don Mackenzie responded that he did not think there was a question within Mr Dunn’s supplementary contribution.  He advised, however, that he took on-board all the points that Mr Dunn had made, as had Melisa Burnham, and that they would be very happy to discuss the additional points, and any other matters which Mr Dunn wished to raise, separate from this meeting.  County Councillor Don Mackenzie thanked Mr Dunn for taking the trouble to attend this meeting and pose his questions and statements.