REGARDING the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum press release published in the Craven Herald on September 17 which stated words to the effect that there was a serious spike in community transmitted Covid19 in Sutton-In-Craven and Crosshills, I wrote a letter in response which was published on September 24.

In that response I indicated that I had asked the clerk to Sutton Parish Council to write to Mr Flinton, Chairman of the NYLRF and chief executive of North Yorkshire County Council to ask him to provide details of the data he was basing his claims on.

We received a reply on September 22 from a Richard Webb, on behalf of Mr Flinton, stating, "Rolling seven day averages have shown some fluctuations and last week saw some growth across Craven, with particular issues highlighted in the southern part of the District – hence, our references to area covered by the (Sutton-In-Craven) Parish Council... A high proportion of this increase relates to known outbreaks in several school and care settings, including in Sutton and Cross Hills."

I asked our clerk to phone all the schools and care homes in Sutton on September 22. The response was that not one of them had had a single case of Covid-19 in recent weeks.

As stated previously, the Government data at that time showed the transmission rate in Sutton and Cross Hills to be no higher than any other part of Craven, so why were these utterly false claims made and reiterated, causing fear, distress and alarm for members of our community?

I think the NYLRF have mistakenly thought that areas to the south of Sutton-In-Craven where there has been a marked rise in transmission rates recently lie within NYCC.

The area showing a marked spike was actually in the Bradford Craven Ward, not NYCC.

At the time there were no particular issues at all in the south of Craven within NYCC. I do acknowledge that more recent data does now show a worrying rise across a broad area. However the last thing we need is misinformation causing unnecessary alarm and distress for members of our community.

This is a perfect example of why a single unitary authority for the whole of North Yorkshire would be a disaster for those of us who live in the southern regions of North Yorkshire.

Our deep felt concerns are already being ridden over rough-shod by the upper echelons of NYCC, who do not seem to even know where the border is, where our village is, what the Government statistics for our area are, and they have shown a healthy disdain towards being corrected when provided with the correct information.

Instead of acknowledging their error they have persisted with their false and just plain untrue statements about transmission rates of Covid-19 in our village.

I think this an utterly despicable way for someone in such a high position of authority to behave.

If this is how the top brass in NYCC treat us now, how will it be if we end up in a single unitary authority under the rule of these pirates of the media?

Cllr Steve Morrell


In response, Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council director of Health and Adult Services said:

“During September, infection rates and positive cases have increased significantly across the North Yorkshire area and numbers have fluctuated within different parts of the county.

In Craven, as a whole, the main areas of attention have been schools and colleges and care settings.

We cannot comment on individual locations unless agreed with that setting and Public Health England, but we have had higher rates of infection and cases at various points in the southern part of Craven which includes Sutton-in-Craven and the surrounding areas. The situation is, and has been, very dynamic.

We would ask all communities to continue to stay vigilant in the face of a renewed prevalence of the virus in all parts of the county and, in particular, southern Craven, which has the highest rates at the moment.”

There were 36 new cases reported in Craven in the seven days up to September 21. This gave a seven day rate of infections of 63 per 100,000. In the same period there were 158 cases across the whole county giving a rate of 25.6 per 100,000.

We were aware of 11 incidents (six care settings; three education; one hospitality; one workplace) on September 21. Most of these were single cases or small clusters.

The areas with three or more cases were Ingleton and High Bentham (six); Carleton, Cowling and Cononley (six); Sutton and Cross Hills (four); Skipton Town and East (three).

In the week before Sutton and Cross Hills was the only area in Craven with three or more cases.