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Masham back on the map

Masham back on the map

Published at 4:48pm 5th April 2016. (Updated at 5:30pm 5th April 2016)

Campaigners in Masham are celebrating a "significant victory", as a permanent brown tourist sign has finally been installed south of Junction 50 on the A1(M).

It follows an 11-year battle with the Department for Transport and Highways England to put the market town back on the map.

The new sign has been funded by over 20 local businesses and Masham Parish Council at a cost of £7,000.

However, requests to include Wensleydale on the sign have been rejected, despite the protests of nearby businesses such as Brymor Ice Cream, Jervaulx Abbey and The Blue Lion at East Witton.

The 'Masham on the Map' campaign started after signs were removed during the upgrade of the A1(M) in 2005.

Led by local MP Julian Smith and Councillor Flo Grainger, the task force fought to reinstate the signs, with support from local businesses which were affected by an estimated 30% drop in visitor numbers.

In 2013, the campaign suffered a setback when a temporary sign, funded by the area's business community and erected in a field next to the motorway, was ordered to be taken down by Harrogate Borough Council.

The sign was reinstated in 2014, during a planning amnesty for the Tour de France, and it has remained there pending permission for a permanent sign.

Julian Smith said: "I am delighted that the Masham brown sign is finally in place. After six years of campaigning, the local community group led by the fantastic Flo Grainger has prevailed.

"Well done to everyone who has given their support in terms of time and money to make this happen. It will keep Masham on the map for tourists and visitors alike."

Flo Grainger, Chairman of Masham Parish Council, added: "We are thrilled with this hard-fought victory and hugely grateful for the continued support of Julian Smith MP and the local community, without which we would still be invisible from the A1(M)."

Masham Weekend on 29, 30 April and 1 May will launch a series of initiatives aimed at raising the town's profile and regenerating business and tourism.

They include a revamped market and the opening of a new multi-use games area, along with a 'Make the Most of Masham' shopping scheme.