It is wonderful news that attempts to change the Stray Act 1985 (for the worse) have been abandoned.
It is a shame that we had to go through this traumatic experience. The council could (should) have taken note of the lessons that history teaches us.
The people of Harrogate have never had an appetite for tampering with the protection that the current or previous Stray Acts give.
The Duchy of Lancaster would have considered relaxing the Act if there had been public demand, but made it clear that in their opinion the Act works well.
We are so lucky that the Stray Act 1985 is there for us, whatever political influences are in force at any particular time and looking ahead, wherever our seat of local government may be in the future.
The more remote our local government, the less likely a more flexible Stray Act would operate to the advantage of residents.
The word ‘modernise’ when referring to change is not always appropriate, if the end result is damaging to that which we value highly.
‘Damage’ in the context of the Stray by over-use can have many facets – visual, physical, historical, convenience, enjoyment, to residential amenity and consequences such as the probable inability of our modest sized town to absorb huge influxes of people, vehicles and activity on a regular basis.
Car parking has just been denied to the general public on a temporary basis so that the town could accommodate the ASDA conference.
It is rather a bad joke when North Yorkshire Highways Authority along with our council recently expanded street car parking charges, partly in order to get us to use car parks rather than hogging the streets.
Anyway, sorry for the digression – let us all be thankful that common sense and public opinion have prevailed and our Stray Act remains unchanged for the benefit of all of us, residents and visitors alike.
Harrogate Civic Society