Letter: Stray - Act is clear on what is allowed
The introduction to the on-line consultation on the future of the Stray contains the following paragraph :
“The restriction on the type of events that can take place means that only circuses, pleasure fairs, shows or other public entertainments, displays and events for the raising of funds for charitable purposes are currently permitted.”
This paragraph gives the wrong impression and confuses the issue.
“Circuses and pleasure fairs” were not given special treatment. However, The Circus and The Fair were.
When the 1985 Stray Act was drafted there were five annual events (correct me if I am wrong) all held on Oatlands Stray.The Circus and the Fair (commercial) and the bonfire and Lions Day (charitable) and the Trans-Pennine run (display). These were historically established events (the fair, circus and Lions Day dating from the 1960s). These pre-existing traditional events had to be included in the new act in order to legitimise them. These events, the time allocated for them and the area allowed were specifically included in the Act in order to prevent other events taking place.
The provisions of the Act should not be seen as restrictions but as exemptions for pre-existing events that pre-date the Act.
If the Fair, Circus , Lions Day or Bonfire had never existed, then the Stray would be restricted to no events at all and would be totally open and un-enclosed all year round.
Reading paragraph three people might think that if fairs and circuses are allowed then why not other commercial events? This is not the way that the restrictions should be viewed.
Today Harrogate council are basing their argument for more events on the fact that because circuses and fairs are allowed then why not expand on these? Whereas the Act –brought in by the 1985 Harrogate council specifically named them so as to prevent any such expansion.