Letter: The stray - Now’s the time to think big...

The Stray in Harrogate.  Picture Tony Johnson

The Stray in Harrogate. Picture Tony Johnson

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The Stray is surely one of the town’s major features and deserves to be conserved and used sensitively including curbing the excesses of commercial users who sometimes pay lip-service to conditions of use such as noise and parking.

Quite correctly most of your correspondents focus on the Stray as parkland, though D Smith (Letters, Novemeber 24) suggests using the area close to the hospital for parking, thus potentially destroying that green area.

Over ten years ago, during my tenure as chairman of the then new NHS Foundation Trust, I put forward the idea of creating a car park beneath the Stray between Wetherby Road and Knaresborough Road to serve both hospital visitors and staff – and even the conference trade. Similar car parks can be found in many of the historic towns and cities in Europe where there is parking beneath the main square.

In our case the Stray would be reinstated after the work and the area put to enormous benefit for residents and visitors alike.

Some of the obstacles mentioned by Mick Walsh (Letters, November 24) ) came home to me at that time and it became clear the idea would fail to find support in the various quarters he mentions.

Is now the time to think boldly and big, recognising the formidable cost and engineering challenge but the long term prize of keeping the precious amenity, help the appalling congestion and create income to defray the expense all at the same time?

Dr Albert Day

St Winifred’s Road,

Harrogate