I don’t doubt the sincerity of Harrogate Spring Water’s managing director James Cain when he claims his company is committed to being a good neighbour (Advertiser, March 9).
I also believe he will do his utmost to try and limit the environmental damage which will inevitably be caused by his company’s controversial plans to build a massive extension to its bottling plant right on the fringes of Harrogate’s Pinewoods.
I am also willing to accept his argument that it’s impossible for HSW to consider an alternative location as their spring water has to be bottled at source.
So personally, I would (reluctantly) approve the plans but advise Mr Cain: please resist the temptation to salve your conscience by offering to “formalise” some adjacent footpaths and generally seek to beautify the surrounding area. Just make your extension as hidden and discreet as possible and then leave the rest of the area well alone.
I’m actually much more concerned about the proposals by housing giant Taylor Wimpey to develop a massive new estate on what strikes me as being quite a small plot of land on the other side of the pinewoods - which is being marketed under the banner of Harlow Grange.
Taylor Wimpey’s original planning application was actually turned down by Harrogate Council in April 2014 but the decision was overturned after a public inquiry (so much for local democracy!) so we now face the prospect of two major construction projects on either side of what I consider one of the most beautiful and unspoilt areas of Harrogate; an understated, rural gem within walking distance of the town centre which now faces being destroyed (or, at the very least, changed beyond all recognition.)
Because, of course, this is just the beginning. Taylor Wimpey states that some of its 121 houses will be “large executive-style properties” which will doubtless attract the sort of thrusting, aspirant, well-heeled household who have two or three cars apiece which will inevitably lead to the permanent clogging up of Crag Lane in next to no time at all.
And with all those cars, there’s bound to be demands within months for a neighbourhood petrol station. Not to mention pub, convenience store and primary school. Within five years the expanded Harlow Grange area will be the size of Jennyfield.
And if all that wasn’t bad enough, it would appear that Harrogate Council is at least considering the idea of closing the existing council nurseries at Harlow Hill and allocating that area for - you’ll never guess – another housing estate!
I surely cannot be the only resident who’s thinking: what on earth is happening to our once-lovely town; and when is it all going to stop?
Valley Drive, Harrogate