Council responds to controversy over food festival at Valley Gardens

The Valley Gardens in Harrogate.
The Valley Gardens in Harrogate.

Controversy has erupted in Harrogate over the damage caused to the Valley Gardens in the aftermath of a hugely popular food festival.

Friends of Valley Gardens, the unpaid, hardworking volunteers who give up their time to improve and protect the lovely gardens, as calling for the event to be moved next year.

Harrogate Borough Council, which licences such events, confirmed they were in discussions regarding the StrEat Food Festival coming back next year but a decision had not yet been made.

They also said they were determined events should not harm Valley Gardens.

Coun Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council said: “Harrogate is developing an enviable reputation for the diversity and quality of events that are held within the town.

“Whilst, feedback from people attending the festival has been very positive, it is important that we consider how we can address any issues that arose, such as how we can minimise any damage to the gardens for any future events. “The StrEat Food and Family Fun Festival is only the second major event that the council has commissioned in Valley Gardens this year.

"The first was the immensely popular Fire Garden which attracted around 20,000 people, and the second which was even more popular, being the StrEat Food Festival which attracted 110,000 people over four days.”

“We have an excellent relationship with the Friends of Valley Gardens, and we will be speaking with them to ensure that we are aware of and address their concerns.

“We are committed to working closely with event organisers to consider potential issues and how to address any issues which arise as soon as possible.

“Whilst the Stray is an ideal location for events, the Stray Act does restrict what events can be held on this land and the number of times per year it can be used for such activities, so for events to take place in Harrogate we need to consider alternative venues”.