The beer it produces is famous throughout the world but for the last few years residents in the Yorkshire village of Masham have struggled to keep themselves on the map.
People in the village, famed for producing Black Sheep and Theakston’s beer, have struggled to attract tourists after transport bosses removed a turnoff from the A1 to the area and quoted them an astronomical £36,000 to erect new signs to guide visitors to them.
Now businesses and residents have taken the drastic step of producing their own road signs.
Masham Parish Council says it cannot meet the costs quoted by the Highways Agency for two brown signs on the northbound carriage of the A1, so campaigners are displaying a hoarding in a field next to Junction 50 of the motorway as a makeshift, quick fix.
The parish council said businesses have recorded a 30 per cent decline in visitor numbers.
Residents have been calling for recognition of the signage issues since an inquiry into an upgrade of the A1 in 2006. A two-year campaign led to brown signs being installed southbound at Junction 51 at no cost to the community.
But the Highways Agency, which is responsible for the changes, says there is a bill for two more on the northbound carriageway – a cost inflated by associated road closures.
A Highways Agency spokesman said: “The former Roads Minister agreed, by exception, to allow the installation of brown signs for Masham on the northbound carriageway of the A1(M) prior to junction 50, strictly on the basis that it would be at no additional cost to the Department of Transport or Highways Agency.”
Local businesses have clubbed together to pay for the hoarding.Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, proprietor of Swinton Park, said: “The sign will certainly help put Masham back on the map – and we hope that the Highways Authority will reconsider when they realise how important the sign is in order to secure employment in the area.”