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Harrogate Borough Council in North Yorkshire plans to extend and expand the use of Harrogate Stray for commercial activities. The Stray, 80 hectares of open grassland embracing the town, has existed for centuries. Residents and visitors enjoy this beautiful green space for quiet recreation.
The council is consulting the public on its proposals to weaken the provisions of the Harrogate Stray Act 1985. The Act restricts the types of events which can take place on the Stray, the number of days to 35 a year, and the maximum area that can be enclosed at any one time to 3.5 hectares. We were involved at the time the Act went through Parliament and reluctantly accepted its provisions.
Now the council wants to allow additional events, for more days, and to extend the 3.5-hectare limitation.
We strongly oppose the idea that the Stray should be used more frequently and for larger, commercial events. This goes against the ethos of a place which is so treasured both by residents and visitors. Noisy, crowded activities would conflict with people’s quiet use of the land and its splendid setting for the town.
The historic Stray should remain open and free for people to enjoy, as they have done since time immemorial.
The public consultation runs until 6 February 2017 at www.harrogate.gov.uk/strayact.