Dear Reader: Will Harrogate traffic ever improve?

Graham Chalmers
Graham Chalmers
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By Harrogate Advertiser columnist Graham Chalmers

I’ve tried hard not to bring this up but the one thing I’ve noticed most since the schools went back is how much worse the traffic is.

It’s a bit of a hobby horse of mine but, from a quick glance at recent posts by readers on the Facebook page for our titles in Harrogate, Ripon, Wetherby and Knaresborough, I’m not alone in this thought.

Whether through badly-designed road junctions or simple volume of cars, the fact none of the authorities seem much interested in road congestion doesn’t make it any less of a problem for drivers.

Vindication for this viewpoint comes from an unlikely source - a brilliant book on nature by Harrogate author Rob Cowen which won rave reviews nationally earlier in the year.

Called Common Ground, at one point in this evocative exploration of the ‘edge-land’ round the Bilton-Ripley bridleway, a friend of the writer who happens to be a surveyor tells him it could all be lost to housing.

Only one thing stands in its way, he adds - the absence of road infrastructure which means the aim of building 900 new houses a year is simply unfeasible.

A tour round one of Harrogate’s tallest buildings

I’m still coming down from my recent holiday high in the Swiss Alps, like a part of me had been left behind in the rarefied mountain air.

Which is probably why I chose last week to visit the residents of one of Harrogate’s tallest buildings.

I was working on a news feature on Park Place apartments prompted by a new book on its history by one of its residents.

The author, Tony Naylor, kindly took me on a tour inside, introducing me to some of the people who live 12 storeys above The Stray.

What a nice bunch they were and how well-organised the set-up was.

All-in-all, even if I could afford to live there, Park Place was, possibly, too civilised for my sort of lifestyle.

But, goodness me, if you could see the fantastic views from the apartments nearest the top.

And it felt good to be standing high in the sky once more.