ANOTHER North Yorkshire market town will be able to boast its own community office this year.

Hawes and Leyburn set the trend, finding a single building which could be used as a base for both council and voluntary services, the police and tourist information staff.

Reeth's own community resource centre - launched officially last weekend - also includes a computer suite, youth club and a number of affordable homes.

Now Masham has confirmed it is to follow suit, with similar facilities available at the old police station on Little Market Place by this summer.

"We are ready to start work on what soon will become a very valuable facility for residents, businesses and tourists in Mashamshire and beyond," said project spokesman Mark Cunliffe-Lister.

"I'm delighted we have managed to get everything sorted, so we can now sign the lease with the North Yorkshire Police Authority and also sign the tender documents with the most competitive builder to bid for the contract."

Hares of York will carry out the necessary conversion work and its staff are expected to arrive on site within the next few days.

An extension forms part of the plans and, once complete, will be used by a playgroup and after-school club. Other facilities include a tourist information point, community and business advice office, computer training suite and a small meeting room.

North Yorkshire Police chiefs have also pledged to keep a presence in the town and will also use one of the offices in the new-look building.

The Mashamshire Community Office will only be paying a peppercorn rent to the police authority for the next seven years, helping to keep the set-up costs to a minimum.

The £155,000 bill for the conversion of the building will be covered with grants from both Harrogate Borough and North Yorkshire County Councils, North Yorkshire Police, the Countryside Agency, the New Opportunities Fund, as well as brewers John Smiths and Masham Women's Institute.