Askwith Show organisers blast council for unannounced road closure

Sue Sansbury, owner of the Cock Pit Tea Rooms

Sue Sansbury, owner of the Cock Pit Tea Rooms

First published in News

AN UNANNOUNCED road closure has left the organisers of Askwith Show and a neighbouring business "furious" with council officials.

The closure of Weston Lane, from the edge of Otley up to Askwith, on Saturday, June 14 stopped anyone from reaching the annual event directly from Otley.

And though many visitors still found a way to get there, the organisers are certain the road closure - which they received no official notice of - had a serious impact on numbers.

The closure also decimated the earnings of Weston business Cock Pit Farm Tea Rooms, which had bought extra stock in and taken on more staff in anticipation of what is usually one of its busiest days.

Askwith Show secretary Adele Marston said: "We were furious about the road closure - I only had a telephone message from an Askwith resident informing me about it on Friday afternoon.

"I, along with the committee, had seen road signs up but they only said that there could be delays possible. Then the contractors told us on Friday that they had been informed to close the road completely by a council official in Northallerton.

"We begged them to reconsider, saying the show had spent a lot of money to set the show up, along with ten months of organisation, but they closed it anyway.

"We would like to thank everyone who helped and supported the show and to apologise to anyone who had difficulties attending due to the council closing the road from Otley to Askwith.

"The show was still well attended and everyone enjoyed the day."

Sue Sansbury, the owner of Cock Pit Farm Tea Rooms, is literally still counting the cost.

She said: "I am so, so angry about this.

"Askwith Show day is usually one of our busiest of the year but then North Yorkshire's highways department decided to close the road for yet more roadworks.

"They closed it completely and wouldn't let anyone through from either the Askwith or Throstle Nest directions, so we ended up making about an eighth of what we'd normally get on Askwith Show day.

"We had absolutely no notice, there were road signs up saying there wouyld be some work on Friday and Saturday and might be delays but nothing about closing the road.

"The first I knew about it was early on Saturday morning.

"I had done a massive shop in anticipation of the rush, but have had to put nearly all of that in the bin, and I'd got five staff in for the day."

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said: "We make every effort to communicate with all affected residents and businesses when any highways works are to be carried out, and regret that this appears not to have

happened in this instance.

"Advance notice of the Weston Lane surface dressing works were put up on site two weeks before they began. Unfortunately, the authority was not aware of forthcoming events until the day the works started.

"Surface dressing requires roads to be closed for short periods of time and every attempt is made to minimise disruption wherever possible. Any diversion planned is kept is a short as possible and for this work was less than one mile.

"Surface dressing is a very time sensitive scheme of works on a rolling programme. These essential works are weather dependent and have to be finished across the county by early June, before summer temperatures rise."

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