No 8ft wire fence at district beauty spot

Knaresborough's Bebra Gardens, the subject of much discussion after objects were thrown from the crag top.
Knaresborough's Bebra Gardens, the subject of much discussion after objects were thrown from the crag top.

Plans to erect an 8ft fence at a Knaresborough beauty spot have been rejected, but efforts will still be made to stop vandals throwing objects onto the houses below.

Harrogate Council proposed the measures along part of the crag top at Bebra Gardens after reports from residents at Waterside that objects had been thrown, damaging property.

The plans were rejected by members last Thursday, who said they would damage the character of the scenic spot, without necessarily curbing anti-social or criminal behaviour.

Coun Reg Marsh said: “Knaresborough needs all the visitors it can get and they are certainly not going to get them with things like this being erected to prevent the views.

“Yes, we need to stop people throwing things, but I am convinced there are other ways of doing this. It’s just unsightly. It’s horrible.”

Coun Anne Jones said a sketch of the site with weld mesh fencing looked “like a prison”.

Knaresborough Town Council registered its objections, but Harrogate planning officers recommended approval, despite acknowledging: “There is little doubt that the fencing will have a harmful effect on the character of the area and to some extent on the setting of Knaresborough Castle.”

Coun Phil Ireland said the plans were “unsuitable” and that, if the weld mesh fencing was brought in, it would have to be introduced all the way along the crap top. The proposals also included increasing the height of railings at nearby “Surprise View” from 2m to 2.5m.

The planning committee voted that the measures were excessive and the council should meet with The Friends of Bebra Gardens to find a different solution.

Friends chairman Andrew Willoughby, also a Knaresborough town councillor, said: “I’m very relieved that the decision has gone the right way, so that this can be further looked at and a solution reached that we can all agree to, so these beautiful gardens are not spoiled.”

Coun Willoughby told the meeting: “I’m not aware of any serious injury from anything being thrown from anywhere onto Waterside. Yes, there have been incidents: a fridge was thrown off the viaduct and landed on a parked car. Yes, there’s a risk, but how great is it?”

“I’m suggesting that there’s not an enormous risk, that the fence would make hardly any difference at all.”