In response to Malcolm Neesam’s article on council offices, might I point out what all actually agree on: All concerned agree that the council needs to consolidate ideally from five to one location.
All agree that Harrogate will benefit from construction jobs and redevelopment of vacated sites, which ever option is developed.All appreciate that new build and remodelled offices can meet the Government’s sustainable BREEAM standards for insulation etc.
The bottom line seems to relate to one of two options; Staff move out to new build on Kings Road and a new hotel is in the remodelled extended offices at Crescent Gardens or staff stay in an extended remodelled Crescent Gardens and new private housing and affordable housing is built out on Kings Road.
The issues for the council are: Do they give the public in Harrogate and the district a consultation display at which they can respond to the options, not just views on a Knapping Mount design? Does the council pay any heed to the heritage of Harrogate as a Yorkshire spa town and the fact that their predecessors have created a unique spa complex with offices designed to expand with a two storey dormer mansard roof at Crescent Gardens? Past governments have progressed unitary authorities and now only a few large rural two tier councils exist. Economic issues this decade will demand unitary throughout England. Which option will best suit either option knowing that Springfield offices are always to hand for long term growth?
This important five year economic project needs a transparent level playing field public consultation asap.
David T Rhodes