Chair’s Report

Pamela Jordan
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

Reflecting on the last twelve months I realise that we are presently facing many of the same problems that troubled the founding members of the Trust over 50 years ago. We seem to spend our time responding to planning applications that either threaten heritage assets or the community life of our area. In many cases our towns and villages are facing extensive development with seemingly very little thought being given to how our infrastructure is going to cope. Recently the Trust objected to a planning application that, if passed, will see the demolition of the last remaining original building from the High Mill complex at Bentham to ‘free up space’ for the applicants. We all need to remain vigilant about planning applications in our own immediate area and flag up any that cause concern, as did a neighbour of the Bentham application.

Likewise, we are also facing local government reorganisation just as happened in the early 1970s when Settle Rural District Council was swallowed up into the newly created Craven District Council. The jury is still out on whether the new North Yorkshire Council will be an improvement and our voices are going to have to be loud to stand up for North Craven’s interests here on the periphery!

This last year we were pleased to award a grant to Airton Friends Meeting House to help restore their important Grade II* listed building and a bursary was also granted to Ailsa Gill, a post graduate student from Lancaster University, who has being researching North Craven connections to the slave trade. Similarly we funded Joseph Keep, also a student at Lancaster University, for his work on the Settle manorial rolls.

Finally, I want to thank members for embracing Zoom. We realise that nothing can replace getting together in person for our talks, but at least technology has meant that we have still been able to function over the last couple of years. Hopefully there are better times ahead!