July 1: Decision time over council’s new offices in Harrogate

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From: Henry Pankhurst, Harrogate Civic Society, St Clements Road, Harrogate.

THE time when Harrogate Borough Council will make a final decision on the proposed new-build council offices at Knapping Mount draws near – July 15. To gain more public opinion and information, a public meeting will be held tonight at Harrogate High School at 7.30pm.

Such a major high cost project (financially and otherwise) needs caution. It does not seem that the council are cautious enough. The future shape of local government needs to be known before embarking on a possible “white elephant”.

The previous leader of North Yorkshire County Council said of an unitary authority for North Yorkshire “I still personally believe that this would be the most effective way of delivering local government in North Yorkshire” and that “at some stage in the future the issue will need to be looked at and addressed”.

Is this not the time, before our council tax payers are committed to many millions of pounds of expenditure, to see the District Council, NYCC and our MPs get together and agree on the way forward, rather than our council alone deciding that they must have a new building?

Much less money would be spent on capital costs with the council’s alternative option of working rom Crescent Gardens, Springfield House and Scottsdale House.

The council may have even over-estimated the cost of this option. This option also allows the Knapping Mount site to be used for housing, as was already proposed in the Local Plan, and is a less risky venture.

Related to any move out of Crescent Gardens is the fate of all the gifts of silver items etc. that have been made to the town. I hear that there will be no room for them in the new building at Knapping Mount. They should not be disposed of or hidden away – they are part of our history. Some time ago I seem to recall our council leader being adamant that these artefacts would not be sold, so we hope to hear that they will be suitably housed.

From: Jean Lorriman, Penistone Road, Waterloo, Huddersfield.

KIRKLEES Council is said to be considering lending £9m to bring winter sports facilities to the John Smith Stadium. It all sounds very St Anton and l am sure that the many skiers – including members of my own family – will be delighted by the prospect.

It will also bring a much needed touch of glamour and adventure to our once thriving old mill town as well as providing jobs.

Along with the new sports cntre and all the new university buildings, the town is fast becoming unrecognisable to many older people. I know and agree that we must move with the times but when l passed the old sports centre last Friday l felt saddened that the indoor bowling green is no longer operational.

Nature of a baby boom

From: Mr SB Oliver, Churchill Grove, Heckmondwike.

FIGURES released last week showed that the UK population is now 64.6 million – an increase of half a million (The Yorkshire Post, June 26). A footnote said that net immigration contributed to “more than half” of the increase, with no percentage figure given.

On the same day, there was a news item that made me check the calendar that it wasn’t April 1. An academic has suggested that the NHS freezes the sperm of all 18-year-old males.

The reason being that if a man wants to have children later in life, there is a greater risk of deformities and abnormalities and so the saved “healthy” sperm can be brought out and used.

This procedure will no doubt be available, and used, by the men who have already had children earlier in life.

I can see men of 70+ years “havin a larf” and getting a woman pregnant with this 
daft, and costly (to the NHS), idea.

The word “natural” comes from “nature” which gives fertility to the young which decreases naturally with age. It’s bad enough when a woman wants to have her deceased daughter’s eggs transplanted into her womb so she can have her daughter’s baby – mummy and granny all in one.

This relentless quest for 
babies from all directions and points on the social compass is quite absurd and is turning babies into almost just another item on the shopping-list.

Pa Entwistle’s famous comment from The Knockout comic (1950s) seems apt: “Daft I call it.”

Historic warming

From: Colin Richardson, Brandesburton.

THE other evening, I enjoyed watching a programme on TV about The Earth’s Enchanted Islands. The island in particular was Japan’s northernmost island Hokkaido.

Part of the programme explained that while attached to the northern mainland the animals migrated south.

Global warming took place causing the sea to rise and Hokkaido became an island 
and the bears, cranes etc remained and thrived despite 
the extreme weather conditions.

What remains unclear to me and hopefully to all the experts, academics, environmentalists and Greens who contribute regularly to 
your letters page is “how many fossil fuel power stations, lorries, cars and herds of cattle were around at the time of this happening?”