There are many and varied benefits to living in the beautiful rural areas of North Yorkshire but one of the challenges to being based in such a scenic location is access to vital services that those in cities can rely on without a second thought.
While it may not be on the same level as health services or public transport, being able to reach nearby cash machines has a similar importance to many people as receiving reliable internet access – both of which are far from guaranteed.
As such, a plan by North Yorkshire County Council to ask councillors to identify sites where additional ATMs might be of benefit to residents and then helping communities to make applications to cash machine network provider Link is entirely sensible.
The move has been made all the more necessary by ongoing bank branch closures that have an extensive impact on rural communities. The reality is that while Britain may be gradually moving towards a cashless society through contactless cards and online banking, there are still many people who have good reason to prefer physical services and money – not least because of problems with patchy internet access, a common problem in many rural areas.
Such people face being left behind unless somebody is willing to fight for them. In Hawes, there has been an excellent example of the community stepping up to the challenge with the formation of the Upper Dales Community Partnership to run their own post office, police station, library, petrol station and a fleet of minibuses.
It is hoped that this innovative council initiative can have a similar effect.