Dear Reader: Beales demolition and Bogs Lane traffic-geddon!

Graham Chalmers.
Graham Chalmers.

Weekly column by Graham Chalmers

Strange but true, I always get a mild thrill when I see a construction project on the skyline.

As a fan of history, I’m fascinated by the past but there’s still something exciting about the sight of a towering crane and a giant wrecking ball, clouds of dust and piles of debris.

Perhaps it’s the thought of the new and the prospect of change?

Which is why the demolition of what was once Beales department store in Harrogate has been a bit of a Godsend.

I can’t be the only person who thinks that way. On Saturday afternoon I saw a mum with her children stop to peer through the see-through ‘windows’ cut into the giant fence built round the construction site on Albert Street.

They lingered quite a while.

Soon this derelict patch of land will be transformed into a cinema and restaurant complex but, for the moment, a building site seems to have become a bit of a family day out.

The daily commute to work these days is a long way from sci-fi writers’ visions of flying cars and fast travel, projections of a future yet to happen.

I mention this because it took me 32 painfully slow minutes to get to our newspaper office in Harrogate from Forest Lane Head on Monday morning over a distance of just four miles - and that was at 8am.

With the short-term closure of Bogs Lane for work by utilities companies and the permanant installation of a new four-way traffic light system on the A59 junction of Bogs Lane and Forest Lane, it feels less like a temporary phenomenon and more like a snapshot of the future.

Both changes, incidentally, are the result of house building in the area.

I’m sure many commuters will agree that every change made to the road systems in our district in recent years seems to have made traffic flow worse.