Readers' Letter: Don't demolish a usable building

A letter sent in by Wendy Taylor regarding the demolition and rebuilding of Knaresborough Pool

By Zoe Drye
Friday, 18th February 2022, 10:30 am
Knaresborough Swimming Pool
Picture Gerard Binks
Knaresborough Swimming Pool Picture Gerard Binks

Knaresborough pool

Don’t demolish a usable building

I have previously written outlining my reasons for objecting to the proposed demolition and rebuilding of Knaresborough Pool, causing the unnecessary loss of many mature trees, the loss of the playground and the imposition of a large, ugly building which will loom over Rose Cottage (a listed building) and the other houses on Isles Lane.

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I do support the concept of providing sports facilities for the town, but not at the cost of the environment.

The council claims to be pursuing a strategy of carbon reduction, whilst promoting a project which will cause massive carbon emissions.

The current building could be substantially improved to reduce carbon emissions, whilst avoiding the loss of the established trees and the increased footprint of the pool building.

The construction works, the demolition of the existing building, the cutting down of trees, the manufacture and transportation of new materials and old materials, will all add to the carbon burden on the planet.

This will not be ‘offset’ by planting a few young trees, which will take decades to grow to a substantial size.

We need to prevent the additional carbon emissions now, not in the future.

The only way to do that is by adapting the current building, whilst preserving the rest of Fysche Field.

The alternative proposal of building first floor extensions around the current building and adapting the current building was declared as “technically unfeasible” by the council and yet a very similar scheme was recently approved for the Hydro!

Now I am horrified to see that the planning application is being recommended for approval, despite objections from Sport England.

This scheme will cause a loss of playing field space and a football pitch.

As any parent of young footballers will know, Fysche Field is a much-used field for junior football teams.

Yet in the official correspondence about the application, I read that the pitches haven’t been used in the last five years! This is not true.

The planned replacement playground is much smaller and located next to the car park, where children will be exposed to more pollution.

The total available area for cost-free recreational use will be diminished

We still have not seen any professional survey proving that the current pool is beyond refurbishment nor that there is a need for a bigger pool and gym facilities.

Just last week the council approved plans to convert the former Lidl site into a gym, thereby substantially increasing gym provision in the town.

How many gyms do we actually need and how will the council-owned gym compete with private sector gyms?

I have been very happy to see the increasing interest in achieving net zero shown by the people of the Harrogate District and the council’s declaration of intent to have a net-zero carbon economy by 2038.

But now they need to put this into practice. Demolition of usable buildings is not the way forward.

Wendy Taylor