Review of 2014: January to March

Otters returned to the River Welland in January
Otters returned to the River Welland in January

The return of otters to the River Welland in Harborough was a big talking point in January.

The town was buzzing with tales of the riverbank with many people reporting sightings of the animals on the stretch of river between the Northampton Road bridge and the rear of the Aldi supermarket.

It was not uncommon to see photographers in camouflage with their long-lenses setting up camp along the riverside.

The sigthings even inspired someone to create a Twitter account for the otter – @harboroughotter!

It was a repeat of a similar otter buzz in Harborough from January 2012 and the otters caused another stir in 2014 when returning to Harborough in November.

The year opened with a strange sight for Harborians – The Square filled with wooden huts! The change was so stallholders at the Market Hall could continue to trade while a £480,000 revamp was carried out on the hall. There was a mixed reaction to the “sheds” but traders were broadly supportive and said it was increasing footfall.

In tragic news that month, tributes were paid to Market Harborough dad Andrew Priestley after he died while saving his two sons from drowning in strong currents off an Australian beach.

February

A campaign was launched urging health chiefs to protect and preserve Harborough’s First World War memorial portico at the town’s Cottage Hospital in Coventry Road.

The appeal came after NHS bosses removed the cost of rehousing the memorial from its budget for the new St Luke’s Hospital, which will likely lead to the sale of the Cottage Hospital. The campaign ran until August, with more than 3,000 signing a petition to save the memorial.

March

Nobody is to blame – that was the conclusion reached by an official report into the previous year’s flash floods.

A major investigation into the July 2013 flooding in Harborough found no evidence that blocked drains or defects were to blame.

Meanwhile, the town was declared to be “up to its knees in potholes” after the number of complaints over road woes had risen by 70 per cent compared to the year before.