New council offices
Responsibility to taxpayers
On July 18 the council chose the most expensive option £8.9m, possibly the biggest project HBC will undertake in the next ten years.The Conservative majority apparently made the decision.
The Harrogate Council Conservatives may not like it when their decisions are questioned but they have a responsiblity to taxpayers to respond to what appear to be the reasonable concerns of the Harrogate Civic Society.(Letters, October 17).
The response must include a clear explanation of the short and long term cost benefits for taxpayers and be done before any contracts are signed.
The office accommodation required will depend on the assumptions that have been made.
As technology improves and is introduced employee numbers will undoubtedly reduce; and the assumptions and the plan numbers year on year should be made clear. The council do not appear to be listening to the housing plan concerns of taxpayers let us hope they can be more transparent when responding to the above.
We should not sell this building
At a time like now of acute national and personal financial restraint, as a local ratepayer it beggars belief that a majority of our elected councillors have voted to consolidate their offices on the Knapping Mount/Brandreth House site in a brand new complex costing about £9 million!
Apparently this will involve the selling of our central Crescent Gardens municipal offices containing our elegant panelled council chamber and mayoral suite; so no surprise that 16 former mayors are opposed to this appalling disregard for our town’s heritage!
Furthermore the Crescent Gardens building forms an essential part of our town’s central municipal complex between the Mercer Art Gallery, the Royal Hall and the former Royal Baths; and more importantly it was designed to accommodate at least one extra floor.
Apart from being a much less costly solution, this development could release the Knapping Mount/Brandreth House area for sale as valuable and much needed housing development, and also avoid the proposed pointless demolition of both buildings in any housing plan.
The current proposal to demolish these and occupy the site with a soulless new all-purpose complex to house all the staff is a gross waste of public assets and of doubtful public benefit.
Worst of all is our council’s singular failure to produce any comparative costings for alternative schemes and its apparent total disregard of public opinion by the lack of publicity and public consultation about this extravagant expensive and highly controversial plan. Surely the ratepayers of Harrogate deserve a complete reappraisal.