Letter: Harrogate council office ‘sell off’ is wrong

Harrogate Council Offices on Crescent Gardens.(1401045c)
Harrogate Council Offices on Crescent Gardens.(1401045c)

So, our council is now firmly committed to press ahead with its vanity project: to sell off our prestigious Crescent Gardens ‘Town Hall’, as well as four other council sites, and to house most of the council employees in an expensive, new-build, iconic office block at Knapping Mount, on a site previously identified for housing.

The justification is that the staff need better accommodation and that the overall scheme could, after seven and half years, start to save the council taxpayer a million pounds a year. I wonder!

The Conservative administration claim the public were consulted two - three years ago. Do you remember the exercise?

You were asked to choose between some broad ideas but with virtually no details provided.

This pathetic ‘consultation’ drew an even more pathetic response: only 822 replies, a high proportion of which, interestingly, were from council employees!

Even now the administration is prepared to give council taxpayers practically no information about the project which, of course we are all being asked to pay for.

In particular, we cannot have sight of the financial calculations and we are not being told who is buying our heritage building at Crescent Gardens or what it will be used for in future.

Is this reasonable?

One has to wonder what the outcome would be if a new public consultation was now offered, preferably with more information on the table than we have seen so far. I have no doubt the scheme would be firmly rejected.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at this turn of events. Cabinet government, which effectively means half a dozen councillors, all from the majority party, making virtually all the decisions inevitably encourages arrogance.

A more traditional approach to decision-making – the Committee System – where all elected councillors have a say in most decisions would serve us better.

Stephen Carpenter

Larkfield Close,

Harrogate