A personal column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers.
Goodness knows why he wanted me but I was happy to introduce one of the UK’s finest DJs on stage at Henshaw’s Arts & Crafts Centre as part of this year’s feva festival.
Both Rory Hoy and feva belong to Knaresborough and I live in Starbeck, which I know isn’t quite Knaresborough but it’s not quite Harrogate, either.
Okay, it’s the only line I had.
Feva is a gem of an arts festival, utterly genuine in a way that only something truly run at a grassroots level can be.
This weekend sees it hit its finale with Picnic in the Park.
For once, this family affair with live music held in the grassy grounds of Knaresborough House coincides neatly with another feva favourite, Knaresborough Lions Beer Festival situated, handily, inside Knaresborough House itself.
It’s always a great joy to know while downing a pint that, in doing so, you’ve also done your bit for charity.
In a sign of the times, more and more of the beer being served is brewed locally in independent microbreweries, from Dishforth’s BAD Co to Knaresborough’s Roosters, not to forget the Half Moon Brewery. Nowhere is perfect but one of the attractions of Knaresborough is its sense of community.
People and organisations here do genuinely work together for the greater good in a way that’s not always as common in its wealthier neighbour Harrogate.
If Harrogate’s independents are ever going to work together in a meaningful fashion they could do worse than look to feva’s example.
In defence of NIMBYs
No one likes a Not In My Back Yard person, unless circumstances mean that NIMBY is actually you.
The in-built hostility to that sort of behaviour seems to come from a feeling that a minority of people are standing in the way of the majority.
But it’s a little different when it comes to the sort of housing developments discussed at Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee earlier this week, different, that is, in a matter of scale.
Tuesday afternoon’s planning meeting saw hundreds of new houses up for approval or rejection.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. In total, 6,500 new homes are currently in the pipeline, says the council.
It’s possible to argue all day long about whether the district can handle all of those new houses and whether the council has dealt with what is a tricky situation well or not.
And as for the the percentage of genuinely affordable housing involved...
Any reasonable person would agree that the UK needs more housing, something relevant as much to our prosperous district as anywhere else.
But it’s hard to accuse someone of being a devotee of the Not In My Back Yard syndrome if what they are complaining about is happening in everyone’s backyard.
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