YORKSHIRE DALES towns Skipton, Settle and Hawes have missed out on coveted " beacon town" status awarded by the Countryside Agency for the second year running, it is announced today.
Yet North Yorkshire, where Richmond and Whitby already have beacon status, gets a third - Thirsk.
The initiative was launched last year by the Government-funded agency to pump in funds and expertise to help small market towns tackle various social and economic problems.
Thirsk has been chosen this year as a blue-print project to reduce rural crime by getting the local community involved in crime prevention - a subject very high amongst the concerns of all Dales towns.
Both Skipton and Settle are involved in another Government initiative - the Market Town Renaissance programme - but, so far, any results achieved have been highly controversial. The regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward, has had to pump in more funds to keep the Skipton project alive.