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Cllr Cunliffe-Lister's monthly report - Jan

29 Jan 2024

Cllr Felicity Cunliffe-Lister Parish Report
Kirkby Malzeard : January 2024
 
Transport
Nothing further to report since last meeting.
 
Community Partnership (Ripon)
Ripon is one of the pilot schemes for these new networks. I attended an initial meeting last week, where various local groups were represented and the role and objectives of the partnership was discussed.  I will keep you posted as this progresses, in the meantime please advise if there are any areas of interest where a Ripon initiative could benefit the KM parish.
 
Rural Broadband & Connectivity
I have had a response from the Executive in response to the following queries that I raised with them regarding properties that have not been supplied with an NYNet connection :
 
Now that the delivery of Phase 4 by NYNet has been confirmed, we know that approximately 1,300 dwellings within the Ripon and Skipton constituency are not going to be provided with FTTD broadband. I have also been advised that within the County, 37,000 premises fall within Voucher Priority areas, which have been identified as having a good likelihood of delivering gigabit coverage faster than the procurement route and represents good value for money. I would just like to add for complete clarity, the Phase 4 delivery is not yet confirmed, this will not happen until the contract has closed. The figures recently sent out were based on the most recent plan.
 
Following the suspension of the voucher scheme, I wrote to the Secretary of State to request that these households are provided with some alternate form of financial support to enable them to connect to the internet, such as either via satellite or wireless signal. Most of these houses are in very remote locations, and are heavily dependent on the internet to study, operate a business or go about their daily lives. Meanwhile, those in urban locations, who will have or will be already benefitting from the NYNet delivery, are more likely to also have access to good mobile phone signals and easy access to public wifi such as via libraries and the NYNet market town service.
 
The response from the Secretary of State, Sir John Whittingdale, is attached. Please can you confirm for me :
  1. Where the 50 Voucher Priority Areas are that have been identified within the County, and how many qualifying households fall within each of these. Voucher Priority Areas are managed by BDUK, we do not know exact locations or how many UPRN are in each. It is also unlikely that all 37,000 will be built. In addition, many of these will already have Superfast broadband.
  2. When the temporary pause on the voucher scheme will be lifted. This should be 6-9 months after the award of the Project Gigabit contract, however BDUK are responsible for lifting the pause as they manage the scheme.
  3. Who funds the voucher scheme. If this is NYC, what budget is available and what has accrued during the suspension of the scheme. BDUK manage the scheme and use it with funds from HMT. NYC has no role in the funding or management of the voucher scheme.
  4. With NYNet now finalising delivery of Phase 4 I am assuming that the intervention area has now been defined, but please advise if this is not the case. The intervention area is defined by those which do not have Gigabit connectivity and will not be covered by Commercial coverage. This has been defined for a few months. However, there is no guarantee that the winner of the Project Gigabit Lot will bid 100% of the area.
  5. Please confirm, if the voucher scheme is not reinstated, whether these households will be eligible (either as hard to reach locations or otherwise) for internet connection via the gigabit scheme. My concern, based on the wording in the letter, is that the gigabit scheme will not be made available to those within voucher areas, even if the voucher schemes have been suspended. All premises which do not have Gigabit already and have not been included in a commercial providers plans will be in scope of Project Gigabit. After the contract has been awarded BDUK will be aware of those which will not be completed. Any programmes to cover these will be led by BDUK.
  6. If this is not the case, please confirm what support will be available to these households, if they do not have access either to the voucher or gigabit scheme, or have access to the satellite capital grant.
 
 
Council Meeting & Executive Decisions
The draft budget for 24/25 is now in circulation, which I am reviewing. We are advised by the Executive that the savings that are proposed will not impact front line services, the only exception being that school transport provision is being limited just to the closest school within catchment. There are savings being made due to the move to unitary status, with more to follow over the next two years, but despite that reserves are being drawn down. You should anticipate an increase in Council Tax by the highest permitted rate which is 4.99% across the county. With all the districts falling in line, Band D will be £1,847.62 – with Harrogate previously paying the highest rates within the county (£1,783.17), residents will face the lowest increase.
Whilst the headlines might have announced that there is a 6.5% increase in local government funding, this is a national figure and also assumes Council Tax rising by the highest permitted amount. In reality, NYC’s funding is dropping by £1.5M, compounded by increased levels of demand in some areas (particularly with SEND in education) and increasing costs of labour and materials.
 
Destination Management Plan
I recently raised queries of the Executive following my concerns about the progress of the DMP, the quality of the current draft and the impact that the ongoing lack of strategy will have on tourism in the area. I have also asked for confirmation of how the LVEP funding will be allocated now this has been awarded to North Yorkshire and York jointly, and I have asked for an update on progress with establishing further partnerships in order to promote the Yorkshire brand. My questions and responses from Cllr Bastiman are set out below :
 

 
I met the senior officer responsible for the delivery of the DMP last week to discuss progress and have attended one of the consultations. Progress is being made in the right direction which is reassuring, although I query the cost and time incurred so far. The final draft should be available in February for sign off in March.
 
Highways/Roads & Flooding
I discussed with Chris Blackburn the proposed drainage survey for KM, and the need for this to be carried out before the engineer submits a report as part of the planning consultation for the Mulberry Homes site. I have chased Heather Yendall for progress on this today. I will also chase for the worn out SLOW sign to be assessed.
A resident in Laverton has requested that the gritter lorry continues past the bridge (coming from Kirkby, where the route turns left over the bridge) to include a further section of road. I have put forward a request to Area 6.
 
Planning
Mulberry Homes/Laverton Oaks : Comments from Highways still outstanding (see above)
 
Dallowgill Methodist School Room
I have not heard further on the situation with regard to this polling station. The proposal to close it was not considered at the Standards & Governance meeting on 13th December, it will be a decision to be made by one of the officers, Barry Khan. I have lobbied him in support of keeping it open, will report as and when I have heard further.
 
Locality Budget
My 23/24 budget has now been allocated. Please let me know if there are any funding requirements for the New Year.
 
Youth Councils
No further progress since last report.
 
Commuted Sums & CIL payments
I have seen Kate Dawson’s email to you about the Mulberry Homes site commuted sums, and the advice being that we need to wait to hear further on what the final calculation will amount to.
 
Cllr Felicity Cunliffe-Lister
Cllr.felicity.cunliffe-lister@northyorks.gov.uk
07592 114800
 

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