Letter: Heritage

Visitors walking in Crescent Gardens, c.1912. (S)
Visitors walking in Crescent Gardens, c.1912. (S)

It was very interesting to read Malcolm Neesam’s article in the Harrogate Advertiser of December 12 about the removal of six busts from the staircase at the Crescent Gardens Council Offices. I do not know the reason for this, but wholeheartedly agree with Mr Neesam that, due to the importance to the town of the people depicted, the previous location of the busts is the ideal one.

They have been taken to the Mercer Gallery. Is this to be their permanent home or will they be replaced in Crescent Gardens? What might be thought of as our town hall is the rightful place for such benefactors of Harrogate.

Attention is drawn to your readers regarding another matter concerning the foyer of the council offices. A large sum of money, probably around £50,000 but perhaps up to £75,000 is being spent on a customer service centre in this location. If this were to be a permanent place for enquiries by the public, there may be justification for spending such a significant amount of Council Tax Payers’ money, but it seems that it is intended to be temporary only. As you may know, it is, at the moment at least, the council’s intention to vacate Crescent Gardens and build new offices at great expense (over £9 million) on the Knapping Mount site. The civic society and others have written at some length about the lack of joined up thinking in several respects in this matter. I remind readers that, in preparation for this move, expenditure of £460,000 is proposed, to pay for consultants, architects and so on.

We invite you to question your councillors of whatever political persuasion about the office relocation plans, the customer service centre, and the removal of the impressive busts.

Henry Pankhurst

Chairman, Harrogate Civic Society