It’s a sad fact that whenever one of these wretched ring roads is built, someone loses a loved walk or cherished view.
I note that some residents of Bilton have, understandably, formed a pressure group to protect their area. However, the whole point of Rob Cowan’s book, which they refer to, is that the land around the old railway line is ‘edge land’ i.e. not what people would think of as ‘countryside’.
Of course there is nature there - nature, thank goodness, can get a precarious foothold just about anywhere. But as agricultural land, it’s pretty poor, as is the land to the west of Harrogate and so, expendable.
The really useful, rich arable land is to the east, right in the path of the suggested route from the A59 to Killinghall.
We need open countryside, we need somewhere we can walk where we can find ourselves alone. For example, walking is now recommended as a way of dealing with depression but this does not include dodging bikes, dogs and, sadly, groups of mothers with buggies and children as you will meet on the old railway line at Bilton.
Just stroll up Park Lane and you will see many birds quietly getting on with their lives, unaware that they are on the endangered list - lapwings, yellowhammers, tree sparrows, skylarks and many more. If the flooded gravel pits are not listed as SSSI’s then they certainly should be.
Hay-a-Park is a special place, being a former hunting park belonging to Knaresborough Castle.
We must preserve our open countryside and the only way to do this is to build in urban and suburban areas rather than letting development creep out ever further. Our children will be eternally grateful for our foresight.
In case someone discovers I live in Hay-a-Park, I will own up now. But if a local resident can’t speak up for their patch, who will?