Music legend backs Harrogate villagers’ campaign against housing

Legendary music producer Ken Scott.
Legendary music producer Ken Scott.

A legendary record producer who moved to a village near Harrogate from the USA has condemned new housing developments which he says threaten to “destroy” rural life.

Ken Scott, 71, who was closely involved in some of The Beatles, David Bowie and Elton John’s most famous albums moved to small house in Hampsthwaite with his wife three years ago to take up a position at Leeds Beckett University.


Prior to that he enjoyed five decades at the very top of the recording industry in LA and Nashville, working as a producer or engineer in the studio with Supertramp, Jeff Beck, Lou Reed and Duran Duran, to name only a few.


Having settled into village life, he is now backing Hampsthwaite Action Group who are trying to resist plans for nearly 200 new houses in the area.


Ken, who first began working at EMI studios at Abbey Road Studios in 1964 at the age of 16, said: “My, and so many others, complaints about these new housing projects aren’t based on any NIMBYism. They are based on real concerns about real problems.
“Most councils have brownfield sites that would fill most of the new housing needs but, for whatever reasons, choose not to make use of them.
“Not until all these sites have been utilised should the beauty that brings so many visitors be destroyed."
As a man who'd spent most of his life living in cities, moving to a small village near Harrogate was a bit of a culture shock at first.
He said: "Village life was something we were totally unused to and I have to admit it took a while for us to really settle in, but now neither of us would ever conceive of changing it.
"Unfortunately various landowners, developers and councils are attempting to do just that all across the country."


Ken said his other concerns about new housing was their potential impact on Hampsthwaite’s flood risks, the increased pressures on the village school and and the effect of increased traffic on the countryside.


Ken, who co-produced David Bowie’s run of four classic early 1970s albums including Ziggy Stardust, is to star in a special event at Hampsthwaite Village Hall next Friday.
Organised by local campaigners, the sold out fundraising event will see the veteran music figure talking mainly about his work on The Beatles’ White Album, David Bowie’s Hunky Dory and Elton John’s Honky Chateau.


Scott is not the only member of ‘rock royalty’ backing villagers’ campaign in Hampsthwaite.
Last year Harrogate-born rock musician Chris Simpson of Magna Carta fame said the new housing would be an “armageddon” for a village which he has deep family roots in.

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