TWO senior officers from a local authority are due to meet Bedale councillors on Monday for a face-to-face discussion on standards of cleanliness in the town.

It has been claimed that, despite action taken by the district council to improve standards after site meetings a few months ago, the work has lost momentum.

The contentious subject of cleanliness has cropped up at almost every town council meeting since June, when members took representatives of Hambleton on an extensive tour of problem areas.

Hambleton acknowledged that there were some areas of the street cleaning service which could be improved after town councillors pointed out weeds sprouting in footpaths and outside shops, broken glass from recycling banks in the Bridge Street car park, the state of the public toilets and an alleyway leading past the old town hall building.

The condition of cobbled areas was also criticised and questions were asked about the efficiency of a mechanical sweeper which Hambleton sends into Bedale on two days a week.

After that meeting the district council did work to clean up problem areas as a one-off exercise but it was claimed at the town council meeting last month that the momentum was not being maintained.

Members said they were not satisfied with current standards. Pigeon droppings, the condition of the toilets and cobbled areas remained matters for concern. The standard of the toilets has been described as medieval by Bedale Tourist Information Centre.

When town councillors assemble on Monday, the first item on the agenda is a public meeting with Steve Quartermain, director of planning and environmental services at Hambleton, and operational services director Mike Kneebone, who has been in touch with the town council about its concerns.

The aim of the meeting is to discuss in detail action taken so far by Hambleton to improve cleanliness.

Coun Ray Calvert, the mayor, who took up the issue after standards of cleanliness were heavily criticised at the annual electors' meeting in May, said: "Hambleton has been promising that it is trying to arrange a schedule of cleaning in the town and is going to send it to us, but we decided that we would like this meeting with the district.

"To be fair, there was a definite improvement after the meeting in June but it was a one-off and since then it seems to have been up and down. At times we think we could do with a bit more cleaning.

"We also want to try to get an idea of when they are going to do the toilets up.

"Hambleton took £23,500 which was earmarked for the Bedale toilets and gave it to Thirsk, which didn't go down very well.

"The town centre is a concern but there have also been complaints from the Sussex Street, Benkhill Drive and Fitzalan Road areas.

"I will be asking town councillors to say what the state of play is in their own patches."