United effort sees remarkable progress on flood recovery

Yorkshire Dales communities continue to make impressive progress in returning to normal following the devastating floods that hit homes, farms and businesses in the upper Dales last month.

The temporary bridge under construction on Grinton Moor

North Yorkshire County Council’s efforts to reopen the one remaining closed route – the C106 from Grinton to Leyburn – are on target, work is progressing to clear Grinton Beck and local people have pulled out all the stops to ensure two of the year’s major agricultural shows go ahead as planned.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “On a daily basis our staff on the ground and, I’m sure, residents and visitors are seeing the remarkable progress being made. It’s a tribute to the spirit and strength of local people and the expertise and dedication of our staff, along with other agencies, contractors and volunteers.”

Organisers of two important events in the Dales calendar have worked hard to ensure they go ahead this weekend. Reeth Show will take place on Bank Holiday Monday (26 August), despite the show field being flooded last month. Before that, Wensleydale Show, held on the edge of Leyburn, between the town and Bellerby, will take place on Saturday (24 August).

Dave Guy, chairman of Reeth Show, said: “The show is coming together. We had a big push the other Sunday when about a hundred people turned up to help us get the show field ready. The sun’s going to be shining on Monday, so let’s see you there.”

Cllr Mackenzie added: “The fact that these shows, which are so much a part of the Dales for visitors as well as the farming community, are going ahead is a clear signal that the Dales are very much open for business and ready with a warm welcome. What better reason for a trip to the Dales than to spend a day at one – or both – of these great, traditional shows over a bank holiday weekend?”

The County Council has continued to play its part in the efforts to reconnect and clear up the area.

The B6270, which links Grinton and Reeth with Richmond, reopened last week ahead of the target date after repairs to a landslip and the installation of a temporary metal bridge over the damaged Cogden Beck Bridge. Work is now under way to construct a temporary crossing of the beck to one side of the road. This is currently on target for completion by the mid-September target date and will see the removal of the temporary traffic signals, which will also free the B6270 for permanent repairs next spring.

Meanwhile, work is progressing well on a temporary route alongside the bridge that was washed away on the C106 Cogden South Bridge on Grinton Moor between Grinton and Leyburn. The County Council is on target to open this temporary crossing by the end of August.

Other bridges within the flood affected area have been inspected by bridge engineers and deemed to be safe. However, as water levels return to normal divers will inspect the bridges below the waterline as part of the standard checking process following a flood event.

Work to clear debris from the beck that runs alongside homes in Grinton is also progressing to reduce the risk of flooding in this area. The work will include removing debris under the highway above the village green.

Emily Mellalieu, Flood Risk Management Team Leader, said: “This work isn’t intended to return the beck to its previous condition or level, so it may look different. After debris is removed, the beck will need to be maintained regularly by owners of property next to the watercourse. There will be natural changes in the beck over the next few months as it settles and debris will continue to make its way down the channel. Progressively, it will return to something nearer its original condition.”

People travelling and parking in the area are asked to consider the needs of the contractor to access the watercourse and to be mindful of heavy vehicles on the roads as part of the recovery operation.

Stone cleared from the beck is being made available to local residents for use in rebuilding flood-damaged walls or restoring gardens. Residents wanting stone should email the highways team at area1.richmond@northyorks.gov.uk or contact the County Council’s customer services centre on 01609 780780. Delivery will be arranged. The Environment Agency is paying for storage of the stone. Residents should not try to remove large stones from the area in which the contractor is working. This is dangerous and can slow down the work.

In addition to its practical work, the County Council is maintaining its presence in the area to keep residents informed of progress and to respond to questions and concerns. A temporary cabin in Grinton is manned several days a week and screens displaying regular updates have been installed in the Dales Bikes Centre, Hudson House community hub and the Bridge Inn at Grinton. This follows attendance by highways officers at public meetings in Bellerby, Grinton, Leyburn and Reeth.

“We have listened to what people have said and we have people on the ground dealing with the issues they have raised,” said Cllr Mackenzie.

This story was published 22 August 2019