Dear Reader: Harrogate town centre plan misfires & insulted in Switzerland!

Harrogate Advertiser columnist Graham Chalmers.
Harrogate Advertiser columnist Graham Chalmers.

If the reaction so far to Harrogate Borough Council’s ideas for the redevelopment of Harrogate town centre is anything to go by the masterplan seems to be in danger of misfiring.

Few people have shown much interest in the idea of James Street being pedestrianised or European-style outdoor dining arriving on the drizzled streets of Harrogate.

When they have responded at all, often through this newspaper’s Facebook pages, the viewpoints have been overwhelming negative.

Even the shop owners themselves, whom the plans are meant to help in these competitive times, hardly seem enthusiastic.

The council, itself, is now proposing to extend the consultation period with the public.

Not all change is for the better even when well-intentioned.

Sometimes there’s no shame in letting an idea die quietly.

l I have to confess I got a bit carried away when I was chatting to Tim Brooke-Taylor on the phone before his recent appearance at Harrogate Comedy Festival.

What I meant to say at the end of a highly enjoyable conversation with this veteran star of I’m Sorry I’m Haven’t A Clue was “thanks very much, I’ve always loved your work.”

What came out was “I love you”.

It’s an easy mistake to make.

Fortunately, the former Goodies man took the remark in his stride, much as he’d cheerfully endured one of my anecdotes earlier in the same conversation, the one about my recent holiday in the Swiss Alps.

“My legs were so sore one after one of the mammoth walks” I told Tim, “that when I struggled to get up from the table in the hotel’s restaurant after supper, the German owner, who was likable enough but a little imposing, kindly bellowed across the room : “What is wrong with you? You walk like an old granny.”