Dear Reader: Fallout from new housing + I was a bad footballer

The Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers
The Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers

A personal column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers

A colleague at the Yorkshire Post came up with an expression recently that summed up in two words what I’ve tried to describe in a few hundred on occasion in this column.

My fellow reporter’s line was “growing pains” or, to put it in context, Harrogate is going through “growing pains.”

The pains in question are the likely side-effects of the wave of new housing developments washing up on the outer shores of Harrogate in every direction.

Such are the ways of the current era that little effort seems to have gone into the implications of this housing explosion on infrastructure - the transport links, roads, schools and community facilities, all those things which maintain the town’s very equilibrium.

But, perhaps, it’s simply not possible to do so?

The newly-reelected, business-minded Harrogate Borough Council is keen to make radical improvements to Harrogate town centre to make it more attractive as a shopping centre and visitor destination.

In order to do that, it obviously has to work successfully with private commercial concerns. And it must also tackle the question of cars and parking. But that would necessitate doing something about the roads and these are under the jurisdiction of North Yorkshire County Council.

Getting good things done isn’t easy these days.

I missed the pitch invasion at the CNG Stadium in Harrogate on Sunday.

Normally, running onto hallowed turf reserved exclusively for footballers means getting chased off it by men in hi-vis vests or arrested, even, by the police.

Only on the day your team wins promotion are the normal rules overlooked.

Such was the magnitude of Harrogate Town FC’s achievement at the weekend, its loyal supporters deserved their moment of celebration.

Not only did Town win promotion to the National League for the first time in its history, it did so in style.

Manager Simon Weaver’s men not only played brilliantly, as they have done for most of this memorable season, they held their nerve.

As I know, the latter is almost more important than the former.

In the long gone days of working for this newspaper when the online world was someone’s distant dream in California, I played for the Ackrill Newspapers football 11 against the Burnley Express 11.

It may have been a friendly match but it meant a lot, partly because we were privileged to be playing at CNG Stadium for the crucial return leg.

Such was our dominance that, when we won a penalty, the rest of the team allowed me take it.

It was late in the match and we were eight-nil up. There was no real pressure.

I stepped up to the spot, looked the keeper straight in the eye and hit the ball hard.

Looking up, I tracked its curve as it sailed high over the bar.