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This is a special edition of Residents’ News
Thursday 18 June 2020
This is the latest edition of Residents’ News
Much has changed in the last fortnight. Non-essential retailers are now open again and more people are out and about in places like the high street.
The government has also further eased the lockdown rules to allow for the creation of support ‘bubbles’ to help another household, or extended family if they need help.
There is a handy guide to what you can and can’t do on the government’s website.
Overall, the current ‘stay alert’ message remains. That means you should:
• stay at home as much as possible
• work from home if you can
• limit contact with other people
• keep your distance if you go out (two metres [at least six feet] apart where possible)
• wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
For the latest advice from government, visit its website. For health advice, visit NHS 111.
Support for vulnerable people across the district
We know that plenty of people still need a bit of extra help because of the coronavirus.
The six community support ‘hubs’ are still up and running across the district and we have updated the Covid 19 page on our website with information about the help available.
This includes things like getting shopping, picking up prescriptions and even how to keep in touch with other people using technology.
In the first instance, please ask your family, friends or neighbours for assistance. If they can’t help for any reason, please be reassured that you are not on your own.
For out-of-hours help, please call 01609 780780.
A helping hand for the district’s high streets
Many non-essential retailers reopened this week.
We’ve been helping businesses prepare for their reopening by providing free information packs which contain useful practical advice on how to make sure they can trade safely.
All businesses are required to carry out a risk assessment and to declare themselves ‘Covid 19 secure’ once they’ve carried out measures to ensure safe social distancing for staff and customers.
We’ve also produced signage for use in and outside businesses to promote the ‘stay two metres apart’ message.
And, we’ve had high street ‘ambassadors’ out and about in Ripon, Knaresborough, Pateley Bridge, Masham, Boroughbridge and Harrogate. It’s their job to be on hand to provide advice and information to shoppers.
Retailers need our help more than ever now so please ‘think local’ when it comes to your shopping.
Knaresborough and Ripon markets open
We’ve welcomed back many more traders to Knaresborough and Ripon markets.
During lockdown, only non-essential goods were allowed to be sold, but those restrictions have now been eased.
To ensure you can visit our markets in safety, we’ve got social distancing measures in place and hand sanitisers are available for you to use.
Both markets feature friendly and knowledgeable traders selling fantastic fresh produce and other goods. If you’ve never visited either market, now’s the time to give them a go.
Knaresborough market takes place every Wednesday and Ripon is on a Thursday.
All our carparks are open but you must pay
All our off-street car parks have reopened.
You’ll need to pay to park once again as charges have been reintroduced and enforcement of parking restrictions is taking place too.
While we appreciate paying for parking is not universally loved, charging means spaces won’t be taken up all day with a minority of people taking unfair advantage.
This is especially important given that social distancing rules means there’s less capacity and we have to ensure you can move around our car parks safely.
Please take a look at the car park page on our website for more information.
North Yorkshire County Council has responsibility for on-street parking although we have the contract to enforce county’s restrictions.
NHS and critical care staff, coronavirus volunteers and social care workers will still benefit from free parking on and off street.
This is a nationally recognised scheme and permits can only be issued by the worker’s employer. Permits must be displayed at all times.
Loos open again
We’ve started opening some of our public loos across the district.
It’s a phased approach – starting with toilets in the busiest areas – as resources become available to make sure facilities are clean and safe to use and social distancing measures are in place.
We’re posting regular loo updates to our website.
Additional help for some small businesses
The government has a range of measures to support businesses affected by the coronavirus.
We know that the national schemes have not benefitted every business, self-employed person or freelancer.
We’ve been given a small amount of money to assist some firms based in shared accommodation, bed and breakfasts, charities and market traders.
Applications are now being accepted and there’s more information on our website.
We’ve been set a very short window to accept, process and pay these grants, so please don’t wait to see if you might be eligible.
Please note, the government’s criteria for the businesses that can benefit from these grants is very strict and we will not be able to help every applicant.
Major investment in sport and leisure in the district
Councillors have approved a massive future investment in sport and leisure facilities across the district and agreed to a new way to operate services.
A report containing the proposals was presented to a meeting of the cabinet last night.
A new – separate – but council owned company will be created to run the sport and leisure service. Doing this will save many £thousands in future which can be invested back into services.
At the same time, cabinet endorsed a proposal to make a multi £million investment in sport and leisure which could see a new pool for Knaresborough and a refurbished Hydro in Harrogate.
Contrary to what you may have read in the local news or seen on social media, there are no plans to close Starbeck Pool. Its future is not “hanging in the balance”.
Recycling – a thank you
You won’t be surprised to hear that during the main lockdown period, we’ve been collecting increasing amounts of recycling from the kerbside.
It seems some of us have been busy ordering online while the shops were closed.
Thank you for everything you’ve been doing to recycle.
We’ve been doing our best to take everything away, but it hasn’t been possible to collect masses of side waste or, for example, the large pieces of cardboard we’ve been finding.
Now that all North Yorkshire County Council household waste recycling centres are open again, please take large items to one of the HWRCs to be disposed of.
All other bits of cardboard can be broken up and put in your blue bag.
If you’re ever unsure about goes in your recycling box or bag, please visit our website.
Take your litter home please
We welcome everyone using the district’s parks and open spaces, especially as the weather improves and we are permitted to spend more time outdoors.
If you’re planning on having a picnic, or something to eat or drink, please be sure to dispose of your litter in one of the many bins provided or take it home with you.
Not only does it look unsightly, we also spend more than £800,000 of your council tax money on street cleaning every year.
A lot of that money goes towards picking things up that other people drop when they could have simply used a litter bin or taken it home with them.
By doing so, it would allow our amazing teams the time to pick up litter in other areas making more of our towns look as brilliant as you’d expect.
Grass cutting update
You might be wondering why the grass has been cut in some places and not others.
Cutting grass isn’t as easy as you might think. Lots of different organisations have responsibility for it. For example, North Yorkshire County Council cuts road verges and some town and parish councils do the cutting in their areas.
Right now, we have people from our parks team (they are the ones who drive the ride-on mowers or push the ‘manual’ ones) supporting the work of the refuse and recycling crews.
That’s because we’re prioritising the collection of waste, recycling and garden rubbish.
While our big tractor mower (in the picture above) can easily get onto the Stray, it’s no use in spaces where we’d usually have to rely on a much smaller machine.
We’ll get back to cutting all the grass we’re responsible for as soon as we can.
In the meantime, we can enjoy the extra insects and wildlife being attracted to areas left to Mother Nature.
Harrogate Street Aid – an update
We’re very grateful for the generous support you’ve continued to give to the Harrogate Street Aid project, despite the lockdown.
People have continued to tap the contactless terminal in the window of the M&S food hall in Harrogate town centre.
Every £3 donation helps someone turn a corner to get off, and stay off, the streets. Giving money directly to those on the street may actually be keeping them there.
Enough money has been raised for applications to be accepted for the first of the £500 grants.
These are for areas not currently covered by other funds, for example: training courses, pedlars’ licences, addiction therapies, carpets/flooring for a new property.
For more information, please take a look at the Harrogate Street Aid website.
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