Criticism over Crescent Gardens 'public consultation'

Part of the plans for Crescent Gardens in Harrogate.
Part of the plans for Crescent Gardens in Harrogate.

One of Harrogate's most important guardians of the town's heritage is criticising the location of the first 'public' consultation to be held about Crescent Gardens.

Harrogate residents are getting the chance at Rudding Park Hotel next Thursday to talk to directors and professional representatives of ATP Crescent Gardens, the company behind the planned luxurious £75 million redevelopment of the former Harrogate Borough Council headquarters at Crescent Gardens.

Harrogate Borough Council has welcomed next week’s event, which will also feature plans, drawings and visualisations, at Rudding Park Hotel but Harrogate Civic Society, which has labelled the project an “impossible dream”, is complaining about the location of the event and has questioned whether it is a proper consultation at all.

Harrogate Civic Society chairman Henry Pankhurst said: “The development looks almost an impossible dream with all the underground works, very expensive materials and level of staffing envisaged in the final building.
“It must be the the most far reaching plan for the area since the New Victoria Baths were built on the site in 1871.
“I am disappointed that the event is not being held in a convenient venue as Crescent Gardens itself which people could walk to or get to more readily than Rudding Park.
“In my view it is an exhibition of plans rather than a public consultation.”

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The man behind the scheme itself, Harrogate developer Adam Thorpe, hailed the spectacular plans to create luxury apartments and new gardens as not only a opportunity of a lifetime for prospective buyers but the ‘chance of 100 years’ for Harrogate itself.

Mr Thorpe said: “This is the start of a very exciting journey, one which we are happy we can share with the public as well as our clients.
“This is the closing opportunity for clients to make any amendments to their layouts and for key stake holders in town to give valuable input.
“The opportunity is here for us to create a legacy of something that is sustainable, sympathetic and enhances this important area of Harrogate, providing its legacy for the next 100 years.”

Harrogate Borough Council, who awarded the contract to Mr Thorpe nearly two years ago, welcomed the consultation but issued a reminder of the deadline for the developer’s planning application.

Harrogate Borough Council leader Coun Richard Cooper said: “We’re pleased Mr Thorpe is meeting the series of milestones we set for the plans.
“The planning application has to be submitted on the project by early May and we hope the developer will produce a plan which has public backing and that the council feels able to approve.”