Letter: The Stray - Faced with a Blackpoool scene

The Stray
The Stray

The Stray is one of the joys, not only of central Harrogate, but the whole of Yorkshire.

Is there any doubt that, but for the original 18th century legislation, we would now have just another 200 rolling acres of concrete, tarmac, bricks and mortar?

I imagine Coun Michael Harrison knew what he was letting himself in for when he triggered ‘The Great Stray Debate’ (Advertiser, December 8).

I hope he can understand why so many of us have grave reservations and suspiciously seek any devil in the detail, which could allow a future council to face us with an inland Blackpool.

Coun Harrison seeks to reassure us with “there will be no buildings, car parks or tarmac”. Even under the present restrictive legislation, Harrogate Borough Council have found ways, not only of permitting, but positively encouraging, parking on the Stray.

I suggest he has a look in the Oatlands Drive area, where the grass never recovers from one fair to the next and parking goes unchecked.

An overarching question is “What do you mean by” - ‘modest increase’, ‘suitable safeguards’ etc. Are we to be given the opportunity of seeing both the wording of any proposed amendments to the existing legislation and the time for these to be minutely dissected and evaluated by a loophole lawyer - the community’s, not the council’s?

Somehow, Graham Chalmers’ account of his memorable sleep on the Stray summarises why we need to watch any proposed changes like hawks.

I’ve no personal plans to follow him; but I’d like to feel sure that all our grandchildren could, if they so wished.

Malcolm Wright

Harrogate