Swinton Park

A Yorkshire Dales Town is Back on the Map

9th May 2013

A Yorkshire Dales Town is Back on the Map

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For past few years, the brewery town of Masham (also renowned for its Sheep Fair) has been struggling with its identity. Whist it didn’t entirely lose its identity, it became very hard to find – all because when the Highways Agency upgraded the A1 to M1 status in this part of North Yorkshire in 2009, they also removed the sign and junction for Masham.

 

Businesses in Masham reported up to 30% decline in visitor numbers, and for those that managed to find the town most had followed their sat navs on a detour of an additional 7 miles to their journey. Not only was Masham affected by this, but also the 500 small tourism business that rely on passing trade situated on the route that runs through Wensleydale from the motorway to Hawes.

 

That is all about to change. Although the Masham community has been campaigning long and hard for the return of the signs, the best the Highways Agency can offer are two brown signs at a cost of over £36,000 with some very unreasonable strings attached.  With the summer season approaching and the Tour de France Grand Depart in July 2014 routed through Masham, the town has pulled together and has installed its own roadside hoarding at J50 of the M1. Six Masham businesses – the breweries Black Sheep and Theakstons, the feedmills I’Ansons and Jamesons, the Old Station Caravan Park and luxury hotel Swinton Park – have organised themselves to pay for the hoarding, with the artwork designed by local artist Rob Blades and created by Artison, the art studio and workshop, and local joiner Ian Johnson building it for them.

 

Masham will now be back on the map.

 

“We have been negotiating with the Highways Authority for seven years now without making any progress. Masham is a popular destination, but the businesses here have really begun to notice some long term effects caused by the loss of the sign and so we decided to look at what alternative steps we could take. The sign will certainly help put Masham back on the map – and we hope that the Highways Authority will reconsider when they realise how important the sign is in order to secure employment in the area.” commented Felicity Cunliffe-Lister of Swinton Park, one of the sponsor businesses.

 

[ENDS]

 

Felicity Cunliffe-Lister
Proprietor
felicity@swintonpark.com | Tel: 01765 680944  Fax: 01765 680 901

 

 

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