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Western Area Parish Forum

The next meeting of the Western Area Parish Forum will be held on Tuesday, 19 April 2022 at The Old Vicarage, Helmsley.

Access: There is a car park with disabled spaces. Access is level and wheelchair accessible. There is a disabled toilet.

Draft notes of meeting held on 19 October 2021 at Chop Gate Village Hall

1.  Public Question Time

Mobile phone coverage has been affected by the Bilsdale Mast fire when will service resume?

The Authority has given approval to Cellnex for a temporary mast that is now up and should hopefully be 2-3 weeks before signal restored. The Authority has worked quickly with Arqiva to advise and assist with the necessary permissions in the installation of a new temporary TV mast. A planning application is in progress for a permanent replacement mast. Many households still do not have TV signals and it is difficult to get any information.

What are the implications of the Local Government Reform on the National Park and Parishes?

It is anticipated that this will simplifyy things and no day-to-day implications by dealing with one unitary authority as opposed to 4 different districts. The unitary new authority will only have 90 councillors after 2023 (170 now) and so this will affect the appointment of Members to the National Park Authority. We are in close contact with NYCC who are steering the change. Not known how this will affect Parish Councils yet.

The NPA espouses the importance of the moors on the health and well-being for residents and visitors…The NPA cannot continue to turn a blind eye to health consequences of heather burning…Will the NPA include in the upcoming Management Plan that heather burning is very bad for the health of residents and visitors and that alternative methods of heather management need to be introduced as soon as possible?

It’s important to understand that the National Park Authority has no power to control the use of burning as a tool of moorland management. We do encourage a sensitive and best practice approach, and we strive to support landowners who are open to change and want to manage more of their land differently. If we are to see more habitat regeneration, peat restoration and woodland creation, then it’s imperative that we all work together.

Throughout this year we have been working on a new Management Plan for the North York Moors; a document that sets out vision for the future of the National Park and how we must cooperate across organisations and divisions to achieve these aims. The role of the National Park in both climate change and health and wellbeing is integral to this Plan, and we encourage everyone with an interest in these issues to comment on the draft document when it is published in November. This will be well publicised with an 8 week period to comment.

2.  North Yorkshire Rural Commission – Debbie Trebilco gave a presentation on the outcome of the Rural Commission report. The full report is available on the website North Yorkshire Rural Commission | North Yorkshire County Council North Yorkshire County Council are keen to action the recommendations of the report.

3.  Future of the North York Moors – Tom Hind, Chief Executive, referenced the importance of Parish Forums to discuss issues from Parishes.  There are challenges and changes in all National Parks:

*Farming is integral to the landscape. Profound changes in agricultural support in the form of Environmental Land Management schemes but details still to emerge, likely to be less generous than previous payments. National Park is looking how to help during the transition period.
*Climate Change affects us all so collectively need to look at decarbonising housing (many in the National Park are old, stone built properties), upgrade of energy grid, soil management, carbon sequestration action through tree planting/woodland, improve habitats, water quality and biodiversity.
*Post pandemic recovery phase economic and health and well-being. Balance of tourism that both residents and visitors benefit.
*The new Management Plan will have a collective vision for nature and economy with ambitions, objectives and outcomes for the next 10 years. The Plan will be out for consultation and everyone is encouraged to comment. It is a short, easy to read, 20 page document.

4.  Update on National Park Authority Business – Malcolm Bowes, Parish Member, updated the Forum on:

*Welcome back to face to face meetings and thanks to the speakers
*Staff have continued working throughout the pandemic. Some staff were furloughed. The offices are now fully open on a blended 50/50 work from home/office basis.
*35-40% increase in planning applications and the Planning Team have managed despite staff shortages. This is a nationwide issue.
*Parish Planning Training event on 21 October at 17.15 to 19.30
*3 year budget settlement expected shortly likely to be modest due to public funds being stretched. The Authority also seeks funding from external sources for projects for example in education and conservation work.
*Farming in Protected Landscapes – grants are available to apply for now, full details on the website Farming in Protected Landscapes ( or contact Dave Arnott or Rebecca Thompson

5.  Suggestions for new items to discuss at future meetings – email

6.  Any other business

Discussion held on how to attract more people to attend the forum meetings particularly younger people. This is a challenge experienced by many groups and organisations but could use social media, change the time of day. The Authority is in the process of setting up a youth council with the steering group launching soon who are keen to be involved in decision making.

7.  Dates and times of next meetings:  19 April  2022 at 7.15 pm;  June/July 2022 – Joint Parish Forum (date and venue tbc)
25 October 2022 at 7.15 pm

Please contact Judith Seaton if you have any queries on 01439 772700 or

The following parishes make up the Western Area Parish Forum:

Byland Abbey/Wass/Oldstead
Carlton in Cleveland
Cold Kirby
East Harlsey
Great and Little Broughton
Great and Little Busby
Hood Grange
Ingleby Arncliffe
Ingleby Greenhow
Kirby Knowle*
Nether and Over Silton/Kepwick
Scawton/Old Byland
Sutton under Whitestonecliffe

*= Hillside Parish Council