DISGRUNTLED Richmondshire residents, dissatisfied with taxes imposed by both central and local government, have confirmed they may be fielding candidates at the next election.

More than 100 people packed the Bay Horse pub in Catterick Village when landlady Cath Thompson opened her doors for a debate on the issue in May.

Richmond MP William Hague and councillors from both the county and district councils attended - to find themselves being grilled on why tax demands have grown.

A two-day adventure training course for 11 top executives from Richmondshire District Council in April also proved particularly controversial.

The authority's leaders insist the exercise proved a valuable training tool and have steadfastly denied claims it was no more than a £7,000 "junket" for the management team.

But residual bitterness among some elements of the community has led to the formation this week of the Richmondshire Association of Council Tax Payers.

"That (training) course has not got the bins emptied any quicker or the roads swept any better," said chairman of the new organisation, Alan Gatenby.

He confirmed the hunt is on for people willing to stand as candidates at the local elections in May next year.

"Frankly, we are tired of councillors who, once elected to serve the people, promptly forget about them as soon as they get through the council doors," he said.

Mr Gatenby said another issue which has fuelled dissatisfaction among the Richmondshire population is the controversy over an alleged £40,000 payment to the Croft motor-racing circuit to cover the costs of its defence against a Noise Abatement Notice, which the district council abandoned on the advice of its lawyers.

He claims Leyburn Town Council's decision to purchase Thornborough Hall from the district authority has also proved a bone of contention among some living in Wensleydale.

"We will be attending council meetings to monitor the decision-making process for ourselves - but there a number of councillors sympathetic to our views who will help to keep us up to date," he said.