Dear Reader - Housing going wrong & ‘stuffy’ classical music

Graham Chalmers.
Graham Chalmers.

By Graham Chalmers

The alarming tale of housing development in our district is now so complicated, it’s hard to see the former woods for the former trees.

To give just one example, I doubt even Dr Stephen Hawking himself could work out how plans no one really wants for 600 new houses at Penny Pot managed to get passed by councillors who don’t really want them either.

Not that casting around for villains makes matters any clearer.

Do we blame central government for changing the planning rules in an effort to prop up the property market and keep the economy afloat?

Perhaps it’s the fault of the council who originally submitted an inadequate ‘Sites and Policy’ document thus, by accident, leaving the doors wide open to all comers?

Or is it the councillors who backed that document and now complain its dangerous to oppose any new housing for fear of the costs of losing any appeal?

Either way, the developers themselves must be rubbing their hands with glee at the latest quirk of our dysfunctional democracy.

It was good to see Tom Taylor, our young, intelligent and witty columnist, mocking the hidebound conventions of classical concerts in his Room For A Laugh column in this paper last week.

He’s not alone in his views. The ambitious Harrogate Symphony Orchestra share a dislike for stuffiness and once, when I had the privilege of running the Fringe for Harrogate International Festival, I organised a classical music night in the form of a ‘Rave’. The evening was an utter disaster but a complete success, mainly because amid the thinly spread crowd and swirling psychedlic lights lurked a renowned music critic.

“Right now, Harrogate is the coolest place to be in Britain,” author David Stubbs declared.

It made me think change for the better is possible.