Dear Reader: Should Harrogate become a city?

Graham Chalmers.
Graham Chalmers.

Column by Graham Chalmers

They’ve sold the land where the sheep and horses live on Bogs Lane near Kingsley Drive in Harrogate. Well, that’s the rumour at least.

Another backwater may be in danger of becoming a major thoroughfare. . .

Every week there seems to be a new story in this paper about plans for housing as developers respond to the national pressure to hit local targets.

If you don’t happen to live near any of these developments, the whole issue might appear to be neither here nor there.

But the knock-on effects of traffic alone are likely to impact on all of us eventually.

Undoubtedly there will be figures somewhere showing the district’s infrastructure can cope.

But not everything can be measured in money and miles.

In the case of Harrogate, in particular, perhaps it’s time we started to think of the town as a small city in future - and start planning accordingly.

Everyone feels the need to get away sometimes but sometimes you don’t have to go very far.

Walking from Bilton Hall Lane in Harrogate across the fields to the Waterside in Knaresborough then along the River Nidd to Abbey Road then up the path all the way to the Lido, is scarcely to leave civilisation behind.

But, save for the occasional dog walker or tourist with an ice cream, it’s just you and the birds and the hum of nature.

The last time I trudged this route was on Saturday morning when my undemanding ramble was enlivened by the surprise sight of a brave ‘stunt’ squirrel which leapt from a hedge on my left to a tree on my right, making it safely across by the skin of its little gnashers.

I don’t know what it is about Knaresborough but it always makes me feel like I’m abroad or on holiday - without the air fare.