CAMPAIGNERS have forced a sudden U-turn on a council plan to restrict use of the Stray.
A group called Armed Forces Fitness had been under threat after Harrogate Borough Council decided to tender out the contract to another group.
But - after the Advertiser challenged the council on the laws surrounding the Stray - the council has reversed its decision.
A spokesman said: “The council’s decisions are always open to challenge and in this particular case we think that our original decision was incorrect.
“Consequently, the earlier decision to enter into formal paid arrangements has been rescinded. In future, organisations will be able to operate on the Stray free of charge subject to a small administration fee and licence.”
“It’s absolutely brilliant news, everyone will be happy,” said campaigner Alan Huddart. “Common sense has prevailed.”
A campaign had been launched earlier this week by furious residents, outraged at the potential loss of an immensely popular service.
A flood of letters was sent to council chief executive Wallace Sampson after a Twitter campaign was launched, hash tagged #save AFF.
The Advertiser challenged the council on the grounds that charging for a license to exercise on the Stray was a contravention of the Stray Act bylaws - and we were correct.
“The council’s officers believed that it had the power under the Act to charge for the letting of franchises for use of The Stray for commercial undertakings as well as for ‘circuses, fairs, shows and other public entertainments’ which are specifically authorised under the Act,” said the council spokesman.
“Further investigations have been carried out and the view taken is that the decision to charge is unclear in relation to activities such as fitness businesses operating on The Stray.”
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