Letter: Town Centre - Hell bent on expensive plan

Artist's impression Princes Square
Artist's impression Princes Square

Once again Harrogate Council seems hell bent on another expensive scheme, this time to change the face of Harrogate, instead of focusing on our housing shortage problem, which could be solved by using Knapping Mount for council houses or at least, affordable to buy housing.

1) Yes, at this consultation people responded - about 120 - which represents 0.16 per cent of the population of about 76,000. This is hardly a feasible number on which to base the feelings and opinions of the residents.

The consultation should have been more inclusive, by ensuring that all residents were fully informed directly and over a longer period - probably 4-5 months, not just five days in January.

2) The plan is not only not fully costed, with just suppositions that the HBC, NYCC or the National Lottery and perhaps some private investors will fund the extensive changes, but supposes that Harrogate must compete with cities like York and Leeds or other pleasant towns like Royal Tunbridge Wells or Cheltenham.

This, in spite of being rated as much better in terms of desirability and satisfaction of residents and visitors alike.

3) Why change so much when what really attracts visitors and and indeed residents is the variety of shops, attractive historic architecture, the Stray, the Valley Gardens and many other formal gardens and displays.

4) As for taking the North route through town from West park along Montpellier Hill, round the Crown roundabout then taking a very sharp right turn into Crescent Road is sheer lunacy, as is the removal of the floral and green area which surrounds the Cenotaph to “provide an open area”. This would no doubt soon be a focus for litter and general misuse.

And do we really need extra outdoor performance areas? With our weather I doubt they would be very popular or well used, though we do occasionally have some entrainment on the Cambridge Street/Market Place open space.

5) If James Street is pedestrianised we will not only lose parking spaces, but any incentive for visitors to drive into the town will be lost.

The best way to improve the North/South traffic problems is the completion of the by-pass.

This was mooted 23 years ago (when I first returned to Harrogate) and though there were, I think, three options, nothing seems to have happened.

In short, both visitors (for business or pleasure) and residents like Harrogate the way it is, not like any other town - that is the attraction.

If it ain’t broke - not only don’t mend it but leave well alone!

M Elizabeth Tyszka

North Lodge Avenue,