The problem for one of Knaresborough’s most historic buildings seemed straightforward enough at first.
As reported in the Knaresborough Post in its January 4 edition, the pathway to one of Knaresborough’s most historic buildings, St John’s Church, had become so badly deteriorated it had become a potential danger to pedestrians, especially with its close proximity to Henshaw’s Arts & Crafts Centre and its attraction to visitors.
Concern over the state of the pavement and the road along Church Lane which leads to the iconic grade I listed building had been building for some time.
Doing something about it has proved far from easy, however, because of questions about who should be maintaining the condition of the path near St John’s Church, a grade I listed building which dates from the early Norman days in the reign of Henry 1.
Was it the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council?
Or Harrogate Borough Council?
Or perhaps it was the responsibility of the church itself?
Then there was the question of who owned different parts of the path and the road and the land in the St John’s Church area?
Correspondence has been pinging to and fro between different authorities for weeks.
Discussions have been held and investigations made.
It finally emerged that the road, footway and two street lighting columns between the A59 and the gates next to the church car park are in the public highway and are maintainable at public expense.
But they are not deemed to be unsafe.
From the gate on to the church, the road and footway are not part of the publicly maintainable highway.
But, it seems, there is also an anomaly in that the two street lighting columns are on the maintenance records and so are maintainable at public expense at this point in time but the footway around them is not.
After the dust settled, the end result is that some progress is finally being made in the battle to have the potentially dangerous path repaired and make Church Lane a safe and attractive route into the town centre.
A group of concerned residents, including the church’s vicar the Rev Garry Hinchcliffe, Knaresborough Mayor Coun David Goode, councillors Ed Darling and Zoe Metcalfe and Bernard Higgins, have come together to get it sorted themselves.
Funding is now being sought and applications are being made for grants from relevant bodies and councils, including Harrogate Borough Council, Knaresborough Town Council, among others.
The campaign has already been boosted by the offer of block paving donation from Plasmor.
And the group has already had two local companies visit the site to give an estimate of how much the works will cost with a third company visiting shortly, too.
Bernard Higgins said: “With a lot of hard work from everyone and some support from the relevant authorities we will make sure that such an important part of Knaresborough becomes a safe and attractive place to walk and drive through for everyone once again.”