Selling off civic building will be sad loss to town’s heritage

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From: Mrs Brenda Towler, John Marshall, Eric Waight, Richard Whitfield, Bob O’Neill, Philip Broadbank, Shirley Fawcett, Ruth Timmis, George Crowther, Pat Marsh, Bob Nash, Margaret-Ann de Courcey-Bayley, Geoff Webber, John Fox, Bill Hoult, Les Ellington.

We are a number of past Mayors of Harrogate District and we want to register our deepest concerns, through your letters page, about the council’s decision to sell off Crescent Gardens.

Crescent Gardens, the council offices, is this district’s civic building.

Its impressive interior has been much admired by local residents and dignitaries from all over the world and it was always a pleasure to host guests in the building. This is now going to be lost if the council sells off the building for a boutique hotel.

In that move we will lose our civic history and access to that lovely building will be lost to everyone except hotel residents.

We are concerned that the option to extend Crescent Gardens both upwards and sideways was never explored in any depth.

If that option had been accepted then the extra office space required could have been achieved, as well as the existing space being improved.

The result would mean that a very special building in the heart of our town would remain in civic and public use and provide the office space required.

It is our considered collective view that Crescent Gardens should be retained, conserved and improved for the council’s staff, residents and visitors.

The move to the Police Station site with all its constraints, including car parking, may give the council the modern office space it wants but the elegance and history of the existing Council Chamber and Mayor’s parlour will be lost and Harrogate District’s civic building will be like any other town hall.

The distinctiveness of our wonderful town is being eroded.

Finally, in these financially difficult times to spend over £12m on this project is not what we feel local taxpayers would want. Therefore we urge Harrogate Borough Council to rethink its decision to sell off the council offices and to retain our civic building for future generations.