THE law of unintended consequences hit the good folk of Richmondshire when the areas Community and Voluntary Action group lost out, along with others, when North Yorkshire county council awarded a three-year £1.4m grant to Rural Action Yorkshire, based in York. That means the groups big scheme to transform the redundant and historic grammar school, owned by Richmondshire council, into a hub for volunteer and community groups has had a big spanner thrown in the works.

Lottery money is already earmarked and the irony is that the voluntary group had high hopes this would help it pay for itself, so it would not need future council grants.

There is a glimmer of hope, well probably more than that, they’ve now linked up with the Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust, that hugely successful lot behind Richmond Station. And they seem to be relishing the challenge of getting their teeth into a new project.

But the reality is it will need money, hopefully between them and with much experience gained in both running voluntary groups and turning old buildings into thriving centres they can make the community hub dream a reality, let’s hope so.

There is a question here. How did the county council and the clinical commissioning group which was also involved, reach the decision to give the grant to Rural Action Yorkshire? In these days of austerity we all know money is short, particularly for most local authorities, but this kind of decision causes concern and confusion for the people involved unless there are clear and valid reasons. There may well be, but we haven’t heard them, and if there’s already £150,000 in the pot surely one unintended consequence should not be that is lost.