Council insists it is working to restore the Stray after UCI cycling event and torrential rain takes its toll

The clean up operation begins in the Fan Zone. Picture: Gerard Binks
The clean up operation begins in the Fan Zone. Picture: Gerard Binks

Harrogate Borough Council has responded to complaints about the state of the Stray after the UCI cycling championships - and has promised it will be restored to its previous condition.

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So bad was the weather - and its impact combined with hundreds of fans enjoying the Fan Zone on the Stray at West Park for cycling fans - that it had to remain closed all day yesterday on the final day of the major international festival.

Working on the Harrogate Stray Fan Zone on Monday morning.

Working on the Harrogate Stray Fan Zone on Monday morning.

The sight of large patches of mud has enraged the Stray Defence Association, which was first formed in 1933 to safeguard Harrogate's Stray.

It was the second time the Fan Zone with its big wheel and food and drinks vans had been closed because of heavy rain during the nine-day international cycling tournament which ended yesterday, Sunday.

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But a spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council has said it had tried its best to protect the Stray.

The spokesperson said: “We worked very closely with the event organisers to do as much as could be done to protect parts of the Stray used for the fan zone.

The grass boarders along West Park have been turned into Mud baths after the UCI's. Picture: Gerard Binks

The grass boarders along West Park have been turned into Mud baths after the UCI's. Picture: Gerard Binks

“But, we can’t protect everything against Mother Nature, especially the torrential rain and subsequent flooding which was experienced on Sunday.

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“The Stray will be restored to its previous condition, but given the extent and impact of the bad weather, this will not happen overnight.”

Earlier the SDA's chairman Judy d'Arcy Thompson said not enough protection had been given by the organisers of the cycling event about the effect of the Fan Zone on the state of the Stray.

And she claims it will now take a "long time" to get the Stray back to how it should look.

The grass boarders along West Park have been turned into Mud baths after the UCI's. Picture: Gerard Binks

The grass boarders along West Park have been turned into Mud baths after the UCI's. Picture: Gerard Binks

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The SDA chairman said: "No one looking at it could doubt the atrocious damage suffered by Harrogate’s Stray during the past weeks, particularly West Park Stray. Damage which is so appalling it is hard to quantify.

"It is our view that, despite the assurances we sought, and were given, from every public body that any damage would be minimized, far too little appropriate and adequate protection was provided for the Stray.

"Long after such events leave town it is our Stray which remains, a constant and unique asset promoting Harrogate as a beautiful place to visit.

"What sort of feasibility study was done to ascertain potential destruction over such a lengthy period of appropriation?

The clean up operation begins on the Fan Zone, after the UCI's. Picture: Gerard Binks

The clean up operation begins on the Fan Zone, after the UCI's. Picture: Gerard Binks

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"The Stray Defence Association has been contacted by many local people who, like ourselves, are deeply distressed by what has occurred.

"We fear that the full restoration of Harrogate’s wonderful Stray will take a very long time."

The SDA also said, under the terms of the temporary suspension of the Parliamentary Stray Act sought by Harrogate Borough Council, they, North Yorkshire County Council and UCI now had until 10pm this Friday, October 4 to remove everything from the Fan Zone and "restore the Stray to the people of Harrogate."

Starting the big clean up on the Stray at the Fan Zone. Picture: Gerard Binks

Starting the big clean up on the Stray at the Fan Zone. Picture: Gerard Binks

Pictured the clean up operation begins. Picture: Gerard Binks

Pictured the clean up operation begins. Picture: Gerard Binks