Stray to host first new sports site in over a decade

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THE STRAY is to get its first new sports facility in 13 years.

Long-awaited plans to build petanque “terrains” on the fierceley protected 200 acre grassland site have been given the go-ahead.

The proposals to build the two terrains on the Pier Head, near the war memorial, have been finally approved by Coun Anthony Alton, cabinet member for cultural services.

The plans were put forward by the Harrogate Montpellier Petanque Club (HMPC),

The decision comes after two years of planning - the Stray is covered by an act of parliament protecting it from development.

The areas – which should be free for residents and visitors to use and will be paid for sponsorship from local businesses – will be built on an already paved part of the park.

Petanque is the variety of bowls played with hollow metal balls particularly popular in France.

Nigel Clay, chairman of the HMPC, which was set up to promote the sport, said: “This has been some time in the development and we are delighted that we have been able to get the go-ahead.

“There is nowhere to play petanque in Harrogate, this will be an improvement for the town.

“We are looking to get the whole community together over the next few months and build some public interest.”

The terrains should be open by Easter next year – although construction work could begin as early as this summer.

Harrogate Borough Council’s head of parks and open spaces, Patrick Kilburn, has welcomed the scheme.

“We have not provided a new sporting facility on the Stray in the past 13 years I have been here”, he said. “We are enhancing a space that will provide a new facility.

“This is a new opportunity to enhance an area that is not looking at its best.”

Petanque is a kind of bowls played with hollow metal balls.

Anyone interested in joining the petanque club can email info@harrogatempc.org