In recent weeks, and earlier in the year, you will have seen the arrival of a number of caravans and vehicles on the Busks alongside Leyburn Road. The Busks are designated as Common Land and as such it is not permitted to drive beyond 15 yards from the highway, camp or light fires, as the signs at each end clearly point out. Owners of common land can vary these conditions and in the past the Town Council has granted temporary consents to park vehicles during the Stables Open Day and Middleham Open Gardens and for travellers to camp there with their horses en route to and from the traditional Appleby Horse Fair. Generally these are the same visitors whose route has included Middleham for many years and they comply with Councillors’ requests to tether their horses and leave their rubbish in bags that RDC then collects.
Otherwise, Council does not consent to camping and, as is the normal practice, meets with campers soon after arrival asking them politely to move on. If these requests are unsuccessful, and a long term occupation seems likely, it can be referred to the neighbourhood Police Team and the District and County Councils that have specific powers for dealing with illegal and unauthorised encampments. Otherwise, if campers do not move, there is unfortunately little in practical terms that Council can do, although Councillors shall continue to politely seek cooperation to observe rules governing common land.