The “Suburbanisation” of Boroughbridge

“The old order changeth, yielding place to new” (Tennyson: Morte d’Arthur)

suburbIt’s natural to want to preserve the status quo and resist change.  Currently, however, change is coming to the Boroughbridge area in the form of large-scale house building.  Indeed, many local people now speak of the “suburbanisation” of this charming, rural, market town
There’s no doubt about the scale of building: the Bellway development opposite the High School will be followed by a larger one (90 homes) on the John Boddy site, while over 300 homes could be built in Milby over the next few years.  And there’s more house building in nearby Minskip.
Harrogate Borough Council is committed to building over 600 homes each year and it looks as if a disproportionate number of them will be built here. We cry out in our reasonableness: “It isn’t fair”, not simply because of the number of homes but because it would change the “character” of the town.
Two terms spring to mind:
* “nimbyism” – not in my back yard (metaphorically)
* “drawbridge mentality” – in the face of a perceived threat, local people flee into the castle and pull up the drawbridge once they’re in; others, who come along later, are denied access.
The relevance of the above to prospective housing development in Boroughbridge does not need to be explained to our readers
Whether we like it or not, the following statements are probably fair comment at the present time:
•    In the face of a rising population, the country as a whole needs more homes. They will be built wherever the government and the planners decide, so we’d better get used to the idea
•    There’s no basic human right to a view or charming rusticity or green and pleasant open spaces. “Suburbs” are unavoidable; and what’s so unattractive about estates such as the Bellway one along Wetherby road?
•    More houses and people mean more business in the town: more customers for our shops, pubs and other service outlets. That’s good news!
•    Most readers of Lower Ure News are “incomers” – it’s a demographic fact. Surely it’s wrong to adopt a “nimbyist” attitude to further housing development, pulling up the proverbial drawbridge to keep would-be new residents out of our town and adjacent parishes?
We need to maintain a balanced, pragmatic stance and, as a general principle, accept the inevitability of significant changes on the housing scene in and around Boroughbridge.

John Helliwell