We hope this newsletter finds you well as we begin to emerge in spring from what feels like a year- long hibernation. As it has been while since the last newsletter, this one is a little longer than usual. Please bear with the length – it’ll be worth it! Impact of Corona-19 virus Like many charities and voluntary bodies, this has been a difficult year for the BBA, with no opportunity to hold any fundraising or social events, or indeed for the committee to be able to meet face to face. As many fund awarding trusts and other benevolent organisations have been prioritising Covid-19 related issues, we have also been unable to proceed very far this year with raising funds towards construction costs. Hopefully this will begin to change in the year ahead as the country emerges from lockdown measures and begins to focus again on building longer term community infrastructure. New president for the BBA We were informed last autumn by Janet Street-Porter that following her relocation from Nidderdale to the Norfolk Broads, she had decided to stand down from her role as BBA President. Some of you will have met Janet when she led walks down to Burley Weir in the past and would have seen a different persona to that we see on television – more reserved, even shy. Her rather wicked sense of humour was usually present, however, (she joked that her relationship with the BBA had lasted longer than any of her marriages!), and her love of walking and Yorkshire, especially Nidderdale was much in evidence. We thank her for her long term commitment to creating a safe crossing of the river in Burley and wish her all the best for her new projects.
The first choice of the trustees for the vacant position of President was Colin Speakman, previously Vice-President. Fortunately for us, Colin readily agreed! Most of you will know that Colin was co-founder of the Dales Way and will have read one or more of his 60 plus books. Besides the definitive guide to the Dales Way, these cover a wide range of subjects with a strong Yorkshire focus, covering walking, historical, biographical, poetry and much more. Since moving to Burley a few years ago, Colin and Fleur have also become passionate advocates for the local network of footpaths and have actively engaged with a number of local campaigns. The BBA has also benefited from Colin’s extraordinary wealth of local and regional contacts, demonstrating that he intends to be very much a ‘hands-on’ President!
Burley fish pass (and hopefully bridge) timescale Recent contact with the Environment Agency has revealed a tentative timescale to create a fish pass at Burley Weir. With the installation of a fish pass at Flint Mill at Wetherby partially completed, the EA are now going to focus on the two weirs in Addingham and the Tadcaster weir as part of their long term project of re-introducing salmon, sea trout, lamprey and eel to the Wharfe river system. The focus on these three weirs is because the EA owns assets at these sites, making for easier delivery of the work. We have been told that Burley Weir will probably follow, with construction in between 2 and 3 years’ time. Funding will need to be secured for it to proceed, but the EA have re-affirmed that they would wish the bridge to be constructed at the same time in order to minimise environmental disruption and to local residents. This gives us a possible timescale of between 2023 and 2024 to complete our fundraising. Some of the sources of funding we have been exploring recently to improve better public access to green spaces (such as the Nidderdale AONB), encourage partnering with environmental improvement schemes, so the plans for the Burley fish pass work will be to our advantage.
The Yorkshire Heritage Way The Trustees have decided to proceed with publishing a guide to the Yorkshire Heritage Way. The walking route was devised by our Chairman, Peter Bayer some years ago, to link two of Yorkshire’s World Heritage Sites of Saltaire and Fountains Abbey, passing through Burley and finishing in Ripon. A draft for a guide has been updated over the years, but the BBA has up to now been reluctant to proceed with publication while it was uncertain whether a bridge would be constructed. There were also concerns about promoting a route dependent on the stepping stones being accessible and safe to use – given they are covered for up to 8 months of the year. Having devised an alternative ‘high water’ route using Denton Bridge, Ben Rhydding, and extending the route to start at Bradford Cathedral and finish at Ripon Cathedral, we have reviewed our decision and are now applying for funds in order to publish.
We are, therefore, walking out the route at the moment and updating the draft guide. If you would like to get involved with the project by offering to walk one or more sections this spring and summer to test out the accuracy of the directions (and give us feedback), please get in touch. For the photographers amongst our members and supporters, we will also need some good quality images (in beautiful sunshine!) showing some of the highlights – for instance Shipley Glen, Brimham Rocks, Burley Moor, and of course Saltaire and Fountains Abbey.
LATE NEWS: We have just heard that our funding application to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Active Travel Fund has been successful! This will cover 50% of publication costs and all the launch costs, which are planning to will be at Bradford Cathedral by spring 2022. More details to follow.
Annual subs It is now that time of the year where we gently remind those people renewing their BBA membership annually that subscriptions are now due. We greatly appreciate the commitment shown by members, sometimes over many years. Having a membership base is critical to the success of the bridge project so we can demonstrate to partners and prospective funders that we have strong support both from within the village as well as from the wider area. Whether you are a walker, runner, or someone who just values creating safe and reliable access across the river, please renew, and ask your family and friends to do the same – membership really does matter!
Burley Bridge Hike Sadly we had to postpone our Burley Bridge Hike, planned for October last year. Given the long preparation time needed for a major event like this, we will be unable to organise the hike this year, but hope it may be possible in 2022.
AGM We will hold our AGM this year on Tuesday 22 June. We hope this will able to take place as a face to face meeting at Burley Library, starting at 7.30 pm, with Covid-19 precautions in place. If this does not prove possible due to an increase in restrictions, then we will proceed like last year with a Zoom AGM. In either case, we are inviting Ben Aynsley from GHD (Leeds based engineering consultants) and a representative from Bowman Riley (architects preparing new visual material), to be our speakers. They will be able to share details of the revised plans for the bridge. In the meantime, please make a note of the date!
Planning permission We will need to re-apply for planning permission for the bridge this year from both Harrogate and Bradford Councils. As with previous applications, it will be really important for as many members and supporters as possible to send in support letters. We will send out details in due course.
Don’t forget our website Please check out our website https://www.burleybridge.com, including for details of some excellent north bank walks.
We can get further more quickly with your help! Trustees always welcome additional input from members and supporters as we move forward. If you want to help us build on the progress we are making – please get in touch for a chat!
David Asher, Secretary, 4 Southfield Road, Burley in Wharfedale, LS29 7PA Tel: 01943 862965 / 07551 959494 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- General Data Protection Regulations 2018 The Burley Bridge Association holds the name, contact address, email address and phone number of members and supporters on a secure electronic database. Please contact the Secretary if you want to check the details of information held, or if you want to correct or update information. The BBA will never pass on personal information to third parties. If a member or supporter advises us they wish to be removed from the database, then their personal details will be permanently removed.