Last week we were in the company of some people from Berkshire who had never ventured north to Harrogate before.
They were particularly impressed with the stone vernacular of many of the older buildings.
Along with the vast open space of the Stray and the floral displays particularly those adjacent to West Park and Montpellier Hill they said this presents Harrogate with such a unique quality which makes it different to any other town and is no doubt an attraction to other visitors.
With these comments in mind Harrogate should make every effort to retain its architectural heritage and for instance, not allow the demolition of old buildings such as Victoria Park House.
This building appears to be in a reasonable condition considering its age and one which can be carefully refurbished to continue to contribute to the quality of Harrogate’s unique urban scene.
During my professional career I worked on many historic buildings in far worse condition to bring them successfully into the 21st century.
It would be sacrilege if a developer was allowed to adopt the ‘easy option’ and replace it with a modern structure.
Let’s have a bit of imagination and some lateral thinking. Likewise, in draft plans proposed by the council, the loss of soft landscaped and planted areas to be replaced with outside continental style seating areas and performance spaces would in the words of our visitors “destroy a unique quality inherent to Harrogate”.
After all this is Yorkshire and above all Harrogate – not the continent or just any other town so let’s celebrate this uniqueness.