Belt-tightening council finds £234,000 for local projects

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A MAJOR programme of road repairs and improvements has been launched across Hambleton.

The £234,000 programme, which was given the green light by district councillors this week, includes £100,000 to re-lay dangerous parts of the historic cobbled Thirsk Market Place and £70,000 to replace Stokesley Leisure Centre’s 38-year-old roof.

There is also money set aside for repairs to the World of James Herriot tourist attraction and to replace ageing gym equipment at a number of leisure centres.

“At a time when budgets are being very tightly guarded, we have agreed to boost our local economy by spending £234,000 on these local projects,” said Coun Neville Huxtable, the leader of Hambleton District Council.

“We are in difficult times but this work is long over due.

“It will not only improve our facilities and especially the centre of Thirsk – where the cobbles are particularly dangerous in places – but will support the local economy and hopefully provide jobs for local people.

“We have thought long and hard about whether these schemes are necessary at this time the work is long overdue and all present good value for money for the authority.”

Coun Huxtable said that parts of the cobbled marketplace in Thirsk have deteriorated through wear and tear and although temporary work was carried out to dangerous areas, large scale improvement work was now urgently needed.

It is hoped it will be undertaken after the worst of the winter weather.

Stokesley Leisure Centre’s roof and wall cladding will be replaced to prevent damage from leaks.

Hambleton District Council has undertaken temporary repairs on the building’s roof after it was stripped by lead thieves, but the local authority says this has not worked as a lasting solution.

New fire and intruder alarms will also be installed at Stokesley and Bedale Leisure Centres for £29,000 and £24,000 has been set aside for new gym equipment at Hambleton, Stokesley and Bedale Leisure Centres.

Another £10,000 has been allocated to the Herriot Centre in Thirsk, to renovate rotting windows, undertake roof repairs and damp proofing.

The building is an important tourist attraction in Hambleton, drawing in visitors to the area from across the world.