Hello and welcome to the 50th issue of this regular Sunday email. Yes, fifty editions and only one week (over Christmas) missed since the beginning of the first lockdown on 23 March 2020. Just two more weeks and we’ll be celebrating the Sunday email’s first 12-month anniversary. Amazing! Where did that year?
I hope you find this email’s contents interesting and informative. As usual, do get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think Topcliffe and Asenby residents might like to hear about.
The week’s Covid statistics
• The R number – which takes into account cases, hospitalisations and deaths – is now between 0.6 and 0.9.
• Nearly 27 million people have now had a first dose vaccination. And the number of second doses administered now exceeds 2.1 million. Friday was a record day for vaccinations in the UK with 711,156
• There have been more than 4.3 million confirmed cases of Covid in the UK. Yesterday 5,587 cases were confirmed. That’s a slight increase on last week.
• 8.8 million Covid tests were conducted last week.
• 496 people were admitted to hospital on a daily basis (3,540 in the week). Those figures are 23% down on the previous week. The number of Covid patients in hospital dropped again, week on week,
to a new low of 6,162 (8,029 last week).
• Yesterday 96 UK deaths were reported. There were 659 in the seven-day period to Saturday. Deaths from Covid have fallen by 37% in a week.
• In North Yorkshire there have been over 1,130 deaths – 13 in the last week alone.
• The total number of UK deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test now stands at over 126,122. Worldwide, the number of deaths is now over 2.7 million.
The Roadmap out of Lockdown
We are now two weeks along the route out of lockdown. Since 8 March and until we reach the next milestone on 29 March, here’s what is different and what is allowed:
• Schools and colleges have reopened. Practical Higher Education courses have recommenced.
• Recreation or exercise outdoors with your household or one other person. No household mixing indoors.
• Wraparound childcare.
• Funerals (30), wakes and weddings (6)
Stay at Home restriction continue but people can leave home for recreation, as well as exercise outdoors, with their own household, support or childcare bubble, or with one person from another household. Social distancing and other safe behaviours should be followed.
The next key date is 29 March when the easing of restrictions will allow:
• The ‘Rule of 6’ is back, meaning six people from different households can meet outdoors. There’s also a new measure allowing two households totalling more than six people to meet outdoors – giving
greater flexibility for friends and families. However, there can be no household mixing indoors.
• Outdoor sport and leisure facilities to reopen.
• Organised outdoor sport allowed (children and adults).
• We are advised to continue to minimise travel. No holidays yet.
• Outdoor parent and child groups with up to 15 parents can operate.
People will no longer be legally required to Stay at Home. Many of the lockdown restrictions, however, will remain in place. Unless an exemption already applies, it will not be possible to meet people from other households indoors and many business premises will remain shut.
Details of the complete roadmap are shown in the attachment.
Progress with vaccination programme
Almost 27 million people – that’s more than half the UK’s adult population – have now received a first dose of a vaccine and more than 2 million people have had a second jab. Phase one of the vaccination programme aims to have everyone in priority groups 1 to 9 offered a jab before 15 April. That is 32 million people…and so far the programme is on schedule with only 5 million left to do in these priority groups in three weeks. Phase two – groups 10 to 12 – covers all adults aged between 18 and 49 and they will be offered a first dose later than first reported, but certainly by the end of July. Before then most people in phase one will have been called for that all-important second dose.
Vaccine supply issues are expected to hit the UK for a month from the end of March. A letter to local health leaders in England asked vaccination centres and community pharmacy-led services to close unfilled bookings and “ensure no further appointments are uploaded” to booking systems in April. NHS bosses said that as a result of the supply issues, people under the age of 50 should only get the jab if they are in a priority group, meaning younger adults could face a longer wait to be vaccinated. Apparently, the supply issues have been caused by a need to retest almost two million doses and by delivery delays from India. “Events like this are to be expected in a manufacturing endeavour of this complexity and it shows the rigour of our safety checks," a spokesperson said. The government insists however that the UK remains ‘on track’ to meet its vaccination targets, first doses will be carried out as well as second doses, and no appointments will be cancelled due to the shortage. The vaccine will be offered to everyone aged 50 or over by 15 April and to all adults by the end of July.
What’s the problem in Europe?
In January, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for all age groups, but a number of EU countries initially refused to recommend its use for people over 65. France and Germany eventually revised their stance and approved the vaccine for people aged 65-74 at the beginning of March. However, they were among 13 European countries who paused the AstraZeneca rollout again in March, after reports that a small number of people developed blood clots after receiving the jab. They restarted it after the EMA said there was no evidence that the vaccine caused the clots. However, the French authorities say only people aged 55 and over should get the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. The headlines surrounding AstraZeneca may have led people to be reluctant about taking the jab. Some countries are reporting that as many as half of the doses delivered to them are currently unused.
The NHS advice here in the UK is crystal clear – safety is their number one priority and they say all the evidence available does not suggest there is a link with blood clots. There is no evidence that there are more blood clots than would normally be expected. So, the advice is that when you are invited for vaccination make an appointment and if you have any questions or concerns just ask the health professionals when you go along. The vaccine may well save your life or that of someone you love – the benefits of having the vaccine are great…greater than the dangers faced by anyone who gets Covid.
The Covid Testing Regime
Tests for people with symptoms
Testing sites in North Yorkshire are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care/NHS and private contractors employed by them. People who don’t have access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, can ring the 119 service to book their test. The permanent testing sites are open every day for between 8am and 11:30am. The nearest permanent testing sites are:
- Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
- Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
A full list of NHS Mobile testing sites can be viewed on the county council’s website at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/book-coronavirus-covid-19-test Mobile sites are open for testing from 8am to 8pm. Before you attend at either a permanent or mobile site you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. If test sites are fully booked they will not appear on the government’s website. To book a test visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ There’s a link on the North Yorkshire County Council website to request a home test – https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/home-testing
Tests if you live or work with a nursery/school/college student
If you live, work or are in a support bubble with nursery, primary or secondary school pupils or college students you should carry out lateral flow device tests at home twice a week. Testing kits can be collected from the two permanent sites listed above every day between 1pm and 8pm.
National day of reflection – Tuesday 23 March
A minute’s silence and a national doorstep vigil will form part of a day of reflection to mark the 12-month anniversary of the UK’s first Covid lockdown. The event is spearheaded by the charity Marie Curie, to reflect on our collective loss, support those who have been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future. There’ll be a minute’s silence at 12 noon and householders are encouraged to light a candle on their doorstep that evening. Prominent buildings and landmarks will also be illuminated across the UK.
Spring has sprung!
Yesterday – Saturday 20 March – was officially the first day of spring. Next Sunday, 28 March, the clocks go forward an hour.
Well done…and a big thank you to Jake and Amelia
Jake and Amelia Pearson and their dad John deserve a big thank you for some great work they did in the village yesterday. Last weekend they walked up the church steps from Long Street and noticed that they were looking extremely untidy and overgrown. So, yesterday they popped back with some tools and bags to clear the steps and the path leading up to the main church entrance. It was a brilliant community-spirited job and they deserved all the praise they got on the Top Residents’ Facebook page. Oh, and dad agreed to give Jake and Amelia a pocket money bonus for their time and effort!
Today is Census Day
The census officially takes place today – 21 March. Everyone should by now have received a letter from the Census Office with a personalised online code to complete their online census. From tomorrow,
22 March, reminder letters will start arriving and field officers will visit houses still to respond. The census results will be available in 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years. For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit www.census.gov.uk
Beware of Census scammers
Scammers, it would seem, will take any opportunity to try and separate individuals from their money…and it’s likely there’ll be some scamming activity going on over the coming weeks. Here are some tips on how to tell genuine Census communications from fraudsters. Householders will only ever be contacted for the Census by letter, unless you have arranged a call with the contact centre. Your Census form will ask for personal information but will never ask for your national insurance number, passwords, bank account details, or your credit or debit card numbers. Census officers may visit to offer help if you’re yet to complete the questionnaire. They may also visit to make sure that everyone has been counted. They will identify themselves as being from the ONS and carry an official ID badge. Census staff will never ask to enter your property. Census officers work during the following times: Monday to Saturday: 9am to 8pm. Sundays and bank holidays: 10am to 4pm.
Easter Trail in Topcliffe and Asenby (see attachment)
This is an eggcellent idea that children of all ages should enjoy this Easter. A special Easter egg hunt will take place in Topcliffe and Asenby villages over the Easter weekend – 3, 4 and 5 April. There are lots of eggs to be spotted and some great prizes for those who take part. Participants need to collect an entry form and pay a £1 per family fee at The Milk Churn Farm Shop. Then you simply walk around looking for the hidden eggs, complete the entry form and hand it back in at the farm shop when you’re done. Find them all and win a prize. Each completed entry is automatically entered in a draw for a big Easter Bunny chocolate hamper. All proceeds go to the Friends of Topcliffe School.
Road repairs at Mill Bank
The repairs to the unsafe railings and support wall on the A167 above Mill Bank (Catton Lane) are well underway. The work involves re-pointing various worn areas of the wall, re-building an 8m long section of the wall, near the centre, installation of a new drainage system within the wall itself and a soakaway at the base, and repairs to the public footpath steps between the A167 and Mill Bank. The works should be completed by 24 April. Though the road remains open to traffic with a traffic light arrangement, the highways department warn of some disruption throughout the contract period. Access to private properties is being maintained, though there may be temporary restrictions from time to time.
Bags2School textile recycling
Topcliffe Village Hall and the Scouting Association have joined forces to organise another ‘Bags2School’ recycling event. Everyone is encouraged to have a cupboard and wardrobe sort out and bring unwanted items in black bags to the village hall garden on Friday 23 April 2021 between 8.30am and 12 noon. The proceeds of the event will be shared between the Village Hall and Scouts’ Association.
The following items are welcomed: men’s, ladies and children’s clothing – paired shoes (tied together or elastic band around) – handbags – hats – bags – scarves and ties – jewellery – lingerie – socks – belts – soft toys – household linen – household curtains – household towels – household bedding (bed sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers). We are unable to accept duvets and blankets, pillows and cushions, carpets, rugs and mats (including bath, shower and toilet mats), soiled, painted, ripped or wet clothing, school uniforms, corporate clothing and workwear or textile off cuts or yarns.
Hairstylist to launch salon in Topcliffe
A new unisex hairdressing salon will be launched in Topcliffe next month when the Covid roadmap allows close contact services to open for business. But calm down and keep your hair on because it’s already booked solid from 12 April and into May! The business, Studio 18, will be run by Nicola James from a well- equipped unit at the rear of 18 Long Street (opposite the surgery) and will be open Monday to Saturday. Nicola has years of experience as a hairstylist and can style the hair of male and female adults as well as children. Initially only one customer at a time can be in the salon so business will be a little slower than normal. For an appointment call Nicola on 07851 034815.
Comments invited on plans for Dalton 49 Thirsk
Hambleton District Council has received an outline planning application for industrial units at a site just over the bridge on Eldmire Lane. The site, ‘Dalton 49 Thirsk’, named after the A168 junction number, will be a 43-acre development which will provide a range of job opportunities and a boost to the local economy. No doubt some residents will have responded to the pre-planning consultation to express their views about the proposed development and perhaps to welcome the potential for new jobs for the area. But whilst new developments bringing much needed jobs are important, the growth of Dalton Industrial Estate over the years has led to increased concern in Topcliffe and Asenby, about heavy lorries ignoring weight restrictions and passing through the villages. There is much local worry that the recent pre-planning consultation undertaken by the developers failed to adequately consider the impact that Topcliffe and Asenby could suffer.
But the real consultation is the one staged by Hambleton Council so if you want your voice to be heard now is the time to do something about it. You can add your views to the planning application at:
If you would like a reminder of the main issues, please refer to the article attached that appeared in this month’s Tattler newsletter. There’s some uncertainty about the closing date for comments, so make sure you add your views fairly soon…and certainly before mid-April.
Parish Council meetings
• The next Topcliffe Parish Council meeting will be held at online at 7pm on Thursday 1st April 2021. Any members of the public wishing to join the meeting should contact the clerk for log in details by mid-
day on the day of the meeting by email to topcliffeparishcouncil There is a period of 10 minutes at the beginning of each meeting set aside to receive questions and comments from members
of the public. More information is available at www.topcliffe.net
• Asenby Parish Council’s AGM will be held at 7.30pm on 19 May 2021. It’s uncertain at present whether this will be a Zoom or face to face meeting. An announcement will be made nearer the date. Check
out more information on asenbypc
Local Government Reorganisation
The consultation about the reorganisation of local authority areas in North Yorkshire is now well underway. There are basically two proposals – one based on the whole county and another based on an east/west split. The closing date for receipt of comments is 19 April 2021. You can express a view at https://consult.communities.gov.uk/governance-reform-and-democracy/northyorkshire/
The election for our local Police and Crime Commissioner will take place on 6 May 2021. The Village Hall will act as the Polling Station in Topcliffe. Residents in Asenby will have to travel to Rainton Village Hall to cast their vote.
The deadline to apply for a postal vote for the elections on 6 May 2021 is 5pm on Tuesday 20 April.
• Write to Electoral Registration, Hambleton District Council, Civic Centre, Stone Cross, Northallerton DL6 2UU – elecreg or call 01609 779977 or print off a form from
• Write to Electoral Registration, Harrogate Borough Council, Civic Centre, St Luke’s Avenue, Harrogate HG1 2AE – call 01423 500600 or apply using the online form at
Back copies of The Tattler are available to read on the Topcliffe village website at www.topcliffe.net
Services at St Columba’s Church
• Wednesday, 24 March at 7pm – Compline (or Night Prayers, a short evening service (approx. 15 minutes) of prayers, readings and responses, providing a simple and peaceful way to close the day).
• Wednesday, 31 March 7pm – Compline
• Saturday Easter Eve, 3 April 7.30pm – Easter Vigil and First Eucharist of Easter (with choir accompaniment). Celebrated organist Matthew Atherton will be playing at this service, which will be a real treat.
• Sunday Easter Day, 4 April – No Service
• Sunday, 11 April 10.45am – Holy Communion (Rev Terry Dyer)
The PCC continually assesses the Covid risks and it operates ‘track and trace’ arrangement. All the usual precautions apply – please bring a face covering with you – and we will provide hand sanitiser for use before and after each service. Most importantly, for everyone’s sake, if you have any suspicion you might have contracted Covid, please don’t join us on that particular occasion.
Topcliffe Post Office
Opening hours of the Post Office and Shop are: Shop – weekdays 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7 to 11.30am. Post Office – weekdays 8.30am to 5pm and Saturday 8.30 to 11.30am. Both closed on Sundays.
The Angel at Topcliffe
The gardens at The Angel will re-open on 15 April. Greg and his team will be offering a limited food menu to include favourites such as burgers, skewers, steak pies etc as well as lunchtime sandwiches, sharers and daily specials. Marquees will be erected above all tables to protect customers from inclement weather but don’t forget to take your coat or a blanket in case it’s cold. New temporary openings times:
• Wednesday – Thursday 12 noon – 9pm (food served 12 noon – 2.30pm and 5 – 8pm)
• Friday 12 noon – 10.30pm (food served 12 noon – 2.30pm and 5 – 8pm)
• Saturday 12 noon to 10.30pm (food served 12 noon – 8pm)
• Sunday 12 noon – 9pm (food served 12 noon – 7pm).
• Bookings for food (tables up to 6 or two households only) will start to be taken soon. Closing times will be subject to weather conditions.
• The Angel will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays until 16 May. Follow them on Facebook for all the latest updates.
The regular ‘Dine at Home’ takeaway service menu can be found on The Angel website. Take away times are Wednesday to Saturday, 4.30-8pm, with orders taken from 3.30pm, and Sundays 12-6pm, with orders taken from 11am. Call 01845 578000 to place an order or book a time slot in advance. Check out the details at www.theangelattopcliffe.co.uk
Other Local traders
• Fish and Chips – The Fish & Chip van is in Topcliffe on Fridays between 5 and 7pm.
• The Elm Gallery – The gallery remains closed, though it looks forward to reopening mid- April. In the meantime, Liz and Dave continue to promote items on the gallery’s Facebook page and website.
Collection of purchases at the gallery door can be arranged. More information can be found on their website at www.the-elm-gallery.co.uk and they can be contacted on 01845 577316 or 07709 223920.
• The Milk Churn Farm Shop – Current opening times are: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9-5pm. Thursday and Saturday 9-1pm. Once lockdown has been lifted, Saturday openings will return to
9 to 5pm. The shop is still operating a one out, one in system to protect customers and staff. A home delivery service remains available to anyone in Topcliffe, Asenby or Cundall. They are also making free deliveries to Dalton, Sessay and Husthwaite every Tuesday and to Rainton, Dishforth and Ripon areas every Wednesday (£10 minimum order applies). Ring 01845 400446 to arrange a delivery. https://www.milkchurnfarmshop.co.uk/ Takeaway teas and coffees with cake have resumed. Why not enjoy a walk and call in for a freshly made hot chocolate or other hot drinks? And here’s a bit of good news – ice creams will soon be going on sale.
• The Swan – The Swan remains closed for now but is planning to reopen on Monday 14 April. George, Jane and their staff look forward to welcoming everyone.
• Recycling & green waste – Thursday 25 March and Friday 9 April (one day later than normal due to Bank Holiday) and Thursday 22 April.
• Refuse – Mondays 29 March and 12 and 26 April.
• Refuse – Monday 22 March, Tuesday 6 April (one day later than normal due to Bank Holiday) and Monday 19 April.
• Garden waste – Thursday 25 March, Friday 9 April (one day later than normal due to Bank Holiday) and Thursday 22 April.
• Recycling – Saturday 27 March (two days earlier than normal due to Bank Holiday) and Mondays 12 and 26 April.
Green waste will only be collected if you have paid the subscription for April 2021 to March 2022.
• A Hambleton licence for the year will cost £40 per bin. To subscribe or for further information please visit www.hambleton.gov.uk/newbins
• A licence from Harrogate will cost £41 per bin. To subscribe or for more information go to https://www.harrogate.gov.uk/garden-waste-subscription-service
That’s all for this week. Keep safe and remain well.