Tourists urged not to bypass Bedale

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CAMPAIGNERS in a market town are drawing up a marketing blueprint to bolster the economy and ensure a long-awaited new bypass does not divert tourists away from the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales.

Leading figures have argued that the A684 Bedale, Aiskew and Leeming Bar bypass, which was given the final go-ahead last month, is essential for the future prosperity of a large part of North Yorkshire and claim it will make it easier for tourists and locals to get to and from the northern Dales.

The new route will ease heavy traffic in Bedale, but steps are now being taken to try to ensure that the North Yorkshire market town does not miss out on vital tourism.

The Mayor of Bedale, Coun Christine Mollard, said: “The imminent Bedale bypass will present both a challenge and an opportunity to the town. Whilst we’ll be glad to see the back of heavy traffic through Bedale, we don’t want tourist traffic to bypass without stopping.

“Less traffic should make the High Street a more pleasant place to come and shop for locals and visitors alike, making for a more pleasurable experience.

“It’s important to promote the town to both residents and visitors and the town council is keen to do whatever it can to support this.”

An economic study recently published by Hambleton District Council found the district’s market towns need to be better marketed. The report also identified that as much as 60 per cent of local people do their food shopping at supermarkets outside of the Bedale area.

A meeting will be held on September 23 at Bedale Hall at 7.30pm to discuss ways of supporting local economic growth. It is an open event, but people are asked to register their intention to attend at www.eventbrite.co.uk and search Big-Up-Bedale.

Follow-up workshops will focus on highlighting the town as well as helping local businesses promote themselves.

The work has been supported by both the district and town councils.

John Dunwell, who owns a Bedale-based marketing business and is leading the programme, said: “The project is really about marketing the town, which means establishing an identity, knowing its strengths and weaknesses, and using this to maximum advantage. This project will aim to involve as many people who want to contribute to the process. It aims to big up Bedale and bring in more business, which leads to more jobs.”

About 14,000 vehicles pass through the market town each day, causing congestion in Bedale and in Leeming Bar and Aiskew. North Yorkshire County Council has estimated the bypass will halve traffic flow through the urban area.

Main building work is due to start on the project in the spring of next year, but some advance works including archaeological investigations are expected this year. The bypass is expected to open in the summer of 2016.

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