Eden District Council agrees to Removal of Wellingtonia Tree in Warcop

As you may have seen in a recent article in The Herald, at a recent EDC Planning Committee meeting, an appeal was made to remove the Tree Preservation Order which had been placed on the 92 feet high Wellingtonia tree in the centre of Warcop, because of increasing safety concerns. This damage caused to an adjoining property by falling branches during the November storm (see photos below) proved to be a convincing example of the risks.

After representations from the EDC Tree Officer and the appellants’ representatives, followed by close questioning and discussion, the committee voted by 6 to 4 in favour of the removal of the tree, with the condition that it be replaced by a native variety.

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New Parish Councillor for Warcop

Congratulations to Georgina Austin’Fell who has been appointed to Warcop Parish Council. Georgie is committed to the Parish and works for Eden District Council and we know she will bring a great deal of enthusiasm, energy and ideas to the Parish Council. We look forward to working with her and benefiting from the skills she brings to our voluntary work.

Highways England Meeting

Jonathan Reade from Highways England and Andy Render from Keir met with four members of the Parish Council and four local residents on Tuesday 16th August in the Parish Hall. The purpose of the meeting was to hear updates on three potential schemes of interest to our community: the 50 mph speed limit on the A66; the possible dualling of the A66; a possible cycle way from Sandford to Appleby.

  1. The 50 mph speed limit is imminent – when the over-sticky tape is replaced with new signs. Highways England and the police will monitor speeds and we should perhaps ask someone from the traffic police to come and talk to the Parish Council in the coming months to get their perspective on the new speed limit. While there are no average speed cameras, they is a possibility of them later if speeds don’t reduce. We need speed checks not just at the new police lay-by but on the worst bends. Further junction work might also happen if needed. They will look at suggestions made by local residents who live very close to the A66.
  2. Dualling the A66 – a report to ministers is being finalised and likely to go to them in October. We should lobby Rory Stewart our MP round about that time to use his influence as that is when decisions to take schemes to the development stage are made. If successful, it means the scheme is committed and detailed work starts plus all the statutory consultations etc. The earliest start would be 2021/22 but a lot can happen in governments and the economy in that time! This isn’t the only scheme in the pipeline, of course. Jonathan referred us to an interim report which you can access via this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/northern-trans-pennine-strategic-study-interim-report. There is a  shorter summary but the 205-page full report is perhaps more interesting because of the huge amount of data it contains about traffic flows, accidents, speeds, freight use, projections and so on. Have a look at it if you can. It covers the A69, A66 and A685. The encouraging aspect is that HIghways England see the sense of dualling the A66 and it has a strong economic as well as a safety benefit and would support the “Northern Powerhose” policy.
  3. Cycle Way – Jonathan seems confident that the track bed and viaducts are fairly sound and feels a scheme like this would cost about £2m. He doesn’t seem to think that would be an issue, although they might find technical problems. They will try to find some funds to do a survey this year. Because it’s a safer route which can’t be built next to the A66, he seems to think it stands a good chance, possibly from the 2017/18 financial year. It would start at Sandford Bridge and go right to Appleby, with options to link to caravan parks along the way and places like Haybergill.

The Parish Council will receive updates and let you know what is happening. We intend to meet with them again in a year’s time to see how the speed limit has gone with relevant data

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New Chair of Parish Council

At the last Parish Council Meeting, David Keetley was elected as the new Chair of Warcop Parish Council as Tim Wass expressed a wish to stand down as Chair, due to new work commitments. Tim will continue as a Parish Councillor and we appreciate all the excellent work he has done in recent years. A summary of the recent meeting will be published soon.

Warcop Clean Up – After the Floods Volunteers Start the Big Clean Up

The Parish Council held several meetings which were attended by many local residents to help create a Flood Action Plan. Rory Stewart MP visited Warcop and offered support and the Environment Agency (EA) came down and visited the main areas of damage and concern.

The main areas agreed were:

Parish given permission for local volunteers to clear extensive undergrowth from Crook’s Beck from the centre of the village to the mouth of the Eden.

The EA agreed to fund the work to widen the beck to slow down the flow of water in any future floods.

Build up of gravel at Eden Bridge to be removed and threat to road as river is now effectively spilt in two. No agreement yet as to who will give permission or fund this.

CCC Highways to repair railings and posts alongside beck and fund paint for village volunteers to re-paint them after any EA work has been completed.

Highways repaired the low bridge over the beck whose wall had been partly washed away in the floods.

The Parish Council would like to thank all local residents who have worked so hard clearing trees and vegetation along the beck and disposing of the waste. Look out for some photos on the website soon to show some of the great work done and how it has opened up the views of the village. Many homes were flooded and we hope that this great example of community spirit will help prevent such flooding and heartache for residents in future.

Thanks also to those residents who helped make a good start on tidying up the willow maze in Warcop which had become overgrown. The Parish Council hopes to organise some more village tidy up sessions and would encourage lots of volunteers will come along to help.