Letter: Village future - This isn’t dealing with the crisis

Crimple Valley
Crimple Valley

Re: Proposed new houses in Pannal and Burn Bridge. The future of Pannal as a suburb of Harrogate is really too sad to contemplate.

Hundreds of new houses will overwhelm the resources and the infrastructure of the village. The school is surely large enough already, the Main Street is congested to a dangerous degree and the roads into and out of Pannal are little more than country lanes, ill-suited for cars let alone school buses.

The approach to Harrogate from Leeds is to be blighted by housing and commercial development on a scale which will ruin a most attractive landscape and disgorge yet more cars onto the A61 to join the queues of vehicles which regularly form on the approach to the traffic lights. The reason for all this activity is supposed to be to meet the needs of the area, to deal with the crisis in housing. An illusion, I fear.

There never will be enough ‘affordable’ housing. What is affordable? Developers and, I suspect, councils too are really only interested in the larger properties which are springing up all over the area.

Building a million homes is merely a politician’s fantasy. It would help if we stopped talking about the ‘housing ladder’. We have too many people to house, not enough land and a construction industry which is incapable of producing high volumes.

Instead we should be building ‘homes’, ie flats and apartments; easier to build and less wasteful of land. Our neighbours on the continent are largely flat and apartment dwellers and this is the way we ought to go instead of seeking to spoil the environment and well established rural and semi-rural communities and villages.

Pannal is quite clearly a village. It has a parish council, a church, a village green, a shop, a school, a pub, a cricket team and a post office. It also has a garage and a railway halt. In short it is a well defined unit and is separated from its neighbour Harrogate by a green buffer zone viz the Crimple Valley.

It is this classic village entity which the council seems determined to destroy. Why? Is it because Pannal wanted a parish council ? Is it because the Harrogate council seems hellbent on growth in an effort to make Harrogate into something it can never be: viz a large town? A small and congested town centre and poor road and rail links impose a limit to any large scale development.

W G Welburn

Westminster Road,

Burn Bridge