Street Party for Queen sparks road closure disagreement in Duchy

The Grade One listed St Wilfrid's Church on Duchy Road in Harrogate.

The Grade One listed St Wilfrid's Church on Duchy Road in Harrogate.

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Should she hear about it, The Queen is unlikely to be best pleased by a disagreement in North Yorkshire between the county council and one of Harrogate's most important churches.

Organisers are keen to stress that their street party for The Queen's 90th birthday on Harrogate's Duchy estate will still go ahead one Sunday in June in this highly-protected conservation area - despite problems over a planned road closure.

The fundraiser for St Wilfrid's Church on Sunday, June 12 was meant to involve the temporary closure of part of Duchy Road but plans had to be changed after consent was denied by North Yorkshire County Council.

St Wilfrid's Church fundraiser Judith Thomas, who is also one of the current Deputy Lieutenants of North Yorkshire, said: "All we were doing was responding to a national request from Greg Clark the Secretary of State for Communities that local communities should be encouraged to hold Street Parties on Sunday, June 12, to join in the national celebrations of the Queen's 90th Birthday party on the Mall.

"We'd also received a request from the North Yorkshire Lieutenancy to encourage local celebrations, so we decided to hold a Duchy Road Street Party outside St Wilfrid's and to fundraise for the church's restoration at the same time."

"We only asked for a minimal closure between Kent Avenue and York road, which would allow a simple diversion down Kent Avenue, along Kent Road and back up Hereford Road."

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire County Council said: "Duchy Road is a well-used through road which connects a number of residential areas with the centre of Harrogate.

"Because a street party on Duchy Road would cause disruption to other local residents and the travelling public, the County Council has turned down the application but suggested the alternative of nearby Kent Avenue, which although not a cul-de-sac, is quiet and little used."

But organisers of the event at the church, which is Harrogate's only Grade One listed building, say they are frustrated by the bureaucracy and the lack of compromise over an event which is part of national celebrations.

The street party is part of a fundraising drive in support of St Wilfrid's Church's biggest-ever development project.

It needs to reach a target of £500, 000 by June in order to apply for Stage 2 funding which could, if we are successful, unlock a £1.6million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The aim is to retain St Wilfrid's architectural beauty while modernising the facilities and making the church a fully professional performance space for the whole community and all types of events.

Judith said: "The main aim of the street party is to bring together the residents of the Duchy for a day of family fun, which would bring together a community who have no local facilities, no shops to meet at no, pub to go to.

"It's the perfect opportunity to highlight how wonderful St Wilfrid's Church is, which, when we raise the money to update its facilities, will become a marvellous community focal point."

North Yorkshire County Council said it receives hundreds of requests to hold events on the highway every year and has a stated policy of doing all it can to support community events .

In the past the county council has enabled hundreds of street parties to take place across the county for national celebrations such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

A spokesperson said: "North Yorkshire County Council wishes to support celebrations for the Queen’s 90th Birthday. Our policy is that street parties can be held on cul-de-sacs or non-through roads with basic signage and the cost of administering the legal closure is waived if an application is received by the deadline.

"On the other hand, street parties on through roads require traffic management. Therefore, organisers are required to submit a full events application which, if accepted, requires payment for the legal closure and also for the cost of accredited and insured traffic management.

"The county council acknowledges that the application for the street party was received in good time and has apologised for the delay in responding to the application due to a backlog in outstanding requests.

"The council has also asked the organisers to consider holding the party in the grounds of St Wilfrid’s Church – as the event is also being organised as a fundraiser for the church."