In 1997 the Emmerdale production team built a purpose built life size village on the Harewood Estate near Leeds in
Yorkshire. This was to be used from then on for the village scenes for Emmerdale. From late 1975 to late 1997 they had been using the real life village of Esholt, near Bradford.
The set was designed by Emmerdale set designer Mike Long. The set is also not far from the Yorkshire TV studios where the interior scenes for Emmerdale are filmed. In the early years of Emmerdale the production team used the quaint Littondale village of Arncliffe for the village scenes but it was a long drive from the Yorkshire TV studios and they chose a village closer to Leeds, so they chose Esholt.
In 1995 it was announced that Emmerdale was to be screened 3 times a week so this amounted to even more location filming in Esholt. For years the crew and cast had problems with tourists flocking to the village to watch filming. The crew had to ask them to be quiet during takes and not to take photos. Also the villagers who were at home had to stay inside during shots and were always being asked to move their cars for filming.
Since 1989 the designer Mike Long had dreamt of building a purpose built set for Emmerdale. The idea was bought forward as early as 1989 but the tourism problems was not too bad in Esholt then and the budget was not enough for the amount of money it would cost to build such a set.
In December 1995 when it was decided to transmit 3 episodes of Emmerdale a week Mike's dream of building a purpose built set became closer to reality. Finances were drawn up and a few designs were put forward. They wanted to build a set away from the tourists in Esholt. Mike Long also wanted the new set to look more like a Dales village.