The campaign to keep Masham on the Map is a step closer to success after the Department for Transport agreed to allow brown tourist signs to the town off the new A1(M).
In a meeting at Westminster, the Transport Minister Mike Penning told Julian Smith, Member of Parliament for Skipton and Ripon, that the request from the MP and the community and businesses of Masham for brown signs to the town and Wensleydale had been accepted.
However, the Minister revealed he was unable to fund these additional signs.
Julian Smith said:
After a long campaign, I am delighted that the Government has overturned the outdated and anti-growth regulations to ensure Masham is clearly signposted off the upgraded A1(M).
Directing tourists to Masham and Wensleydale is vital for the town and the area’s economy and this campaign has been one of my priorities since I became the Member of Parliament.
As the Minister has said he is unable to fund the signs I am forming a community taskforce to work with the Highways Agency to find the funds so that these vital signs can be installed as soon as possible. I am determined that when the upgrade opens later this year, we will have our new Masham signs in place.
Over the past 18 months, Julian has led the campaign to keep Masham on the Map at Westminster by raising the issue in the House of Commons, meeting with the Transport Secretary and having many discussions with Ministers and the Highways Agency.
He has worked closely with Flo Grainger, who has led the campaign in Masham. She has organised several meetings in the town and presented a petition signed by dozens of the area’s businesses to show the strength of feeling about the brown signs.
Masham Councillor Flo Grainger said:
This is fantastic news and I am thrilled that Ministers have accepted our arguments that these signs are vital for bringing in visitors to Masham and Wensleydale. I look forward to seeing Masham once again signposted off such a key route.
In his letter to the MP, Transport Minister Mike Penning wrote:
As you know, I am working together with John Penrose MP in DCMS on a review of brown signs. Central to this is the fact that a tourist sign does give a welcome boost to tourist attractions – something which, now more than ever, is needed. I am determined that the new system, while not putting unnecessary clutter on our roads, should provide a far more flexible and pragmatic approach to tourist signing.
I am very happy to agree to your request for brown signs to Masham and Wensleydale.
Julian is inviting those interested in helping on the community taskforce to work with the Highways Agency to come to a short meeting at Masham Town Hall on Wednesday 15 February at 5.30pm.