Stray Views: Harrogate’s army college brings discipline and opportunities


Apr 4, 2021
Stray Views

Stray Views is a weekly column giving you the chance to have your say on issues affecting the Harrogate district. It is an opinion column and does not reflect the views of the Stray Ferret. See below for details on how to contribute.

Harrogate’s Army Foundation College saves young people

I used to work at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate. People need educating on what takes place there. Some of these children don’t have great home lives, some want to make a career for themselves and do them and their families proud.
Education there is fab and does the world of good for the students that hated school and gives them a second chance. They leave there and go to phase two. Not one of them would go from there to a war zone!
I’m so glad people saw sense and kept it going as some of the junior soldiers may have gone down the wrong path without being able to join up. It creates a sense of achievement being able to join up at a young age, the proof is in the amount that join and stay in.
It’s a college with extra fitness and a little more discipline, what’s wrong with that?
Mrs Smith, Harrogate

Network Rail has questions to answer about tree felling

Your journalist reports that ‘some trees have been felled’ at Hornbeam Park. As a Harrogate resident living on Tewit Well Road, I want to report that all the trees have been felled. Tell it as it is, please.

We now have a situation where residents are having to prevent some of the young people of Harrogate putting themselves at risk and using this newly cleared area for their own purposes. When the line had mature trees, we may have the occasional leaf on the line, but we certainly didn’t have youngsters jumping over to sunbath, party etc.

I’m afraid Network Rail has a lot to answer for here. A poor ecological management decision has left local residents policing an area that was once a mature habitat for local wildlife.

Who was the ecologist who advised Network Rail? Are they not accountable for the habitat decimation that we have been left with? How can they say anything other than recovery will take years? Is Network Rail pleased with the result?’

Not impressed.

Charlie McCarthy
Local resident

Questions that need answering about Beech Grove

As a resident and local business owner of 11 years, I and many others strongly believe the Low Traffic Neighbourhood experiment on Beech Grove creates more congestion, longer car journey times and increased carbon emissions on surrounding roads.

Otley Road currently has major road works and the planned 20-week cycle lane construction will cause further disruption and congestion.

There are many unanswered questions for North Yorkshire County Council:

  1. What is the overall aim of this Low Traffic Neighbourhood?
  2. In the latest council meeting we were told that the cycling groups are being consulted to make these decisions. Why are the cycling groups being consulted and the residents and businesses, who pay taxes and rates, not consulted?
  3. How do you measure success or failure?
  4. What data are you collecting and where from?
  5. Which company are you using to analyse this?
  6. Did you count how many cyclists and motorists use the roads, before you closed them?
  7. Is information collected during the same months of the year, so you can directly compare activity in all seasons and weather?
  8. Is it the best time to do this during a lockdown?
  9. Why did NYCC approve all the housing developments, each with 2-3 cars, when 84% of people expressed that Harrogate was congested in the 2019 survey?
  10.  What’s the projection of people who will swap their cars for bikes and what is this based on?
  11. Far more people walk than cycle and yet the pavements are shocking, they are left for months after the Autumn leaves fall without being cleared and go untreated in ice and snow. How does this encourage people to walk?
  12. Where is the evidence that there is an appetite for more cycling?

I have spoken to many residents and businesses and cars are critical for the school run, appointments, visiting relatives, holidays, tourism but, most importantly, to access businesses.

Cars are the lifeblood of many businesses and thousands of jobs depend on them. Banning them cannot be the only solution.

Lucy Gardiner, Harrogate Residents Association

Why is government spending so much on roads?

Why does this article about cuts to rural roadworks contrast that with the funding provided for the Station Gateway and active travel schemes?
It looks to me like it’s deliberately giving the impression that the former is being sacrificed in order to pay for the latter, which is completely untrue. The two things have nothing to do with each other.
I suggest it would be altogether more relevant to point out the government is spending over £27 billion on new roads, which will increase car use, development, destruction of the countryside and pollution (to which electric cars are at best a partial solution) while allowing our existing road network to fall into an ever worse state of disrepair.
Malcolm Margolis
Rossett, Harrogate

Got an opinion on the Harrogate district? Email us at Please include your name and approximate location details. Limit your letters to 350 words. We reserve the right to edit letters.


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