The Stray has been handed back to Harrogate council from Yorkshire 2019

The Stray has finally been handed back to Harrogate by the organisers of the controversial UCI cycling championships.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 11:19 am
The damaged Stray at West Park in Harrogate.

And the date for opening the main West Park footpath has also been revealed.

Four weeks after the international sporting event ended which has been followed by growing complaints by Harrogate residents over the muddy, rutted, water-logged mess left behind by the Fan Zone, Yorkshire 2019 has officially vacated the site.

Plea to Government over appalling condition of Stray in HarrogateThe move now means that Harrogate Borough Council can now start serious work on repairing the damage to the Stray on West Park.

But, the Stray Defence Association, the guardians of the Stray, say the West Park Stray may have been handed back to the council but it hasn't been "handed back to the people."

Chair Judy d'Arcy Thompson said: "Yorkshire 2019 may well have handed back our Stray to Harrogate Borough Council but it is yet to be handed back to the people of Harrogate, over a month since the event finished. Sadly, it could well be a very long time, indeed, before it is anywhere near useable."

The handover of the Stray will speed the day that fences will be taken down round that section of parkland - to the relief of residents living nearby who are barred from the footpaths and forced to navigate tricky road crossings.

A spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council said its parks department were already hard at work on the site.

The council spokesperson said: "The real work has started. Work on restoring the verges on West Park began almost straight away following the event, and the grass and flowers are now growing well.

"The West Park footpath is currently being restored. This work needed to wait until the water had subsided and we anticipate it to take two to three weeks.

"Areas of grass on the West Park section of the Stray have been flattened where possible and we are waiting for the remaining water to disperse before further work can start."

But the SDA fears restoration work can not be carried on quickly enough to enable the Stray's most famous flowers to appear next spring.

Chair Judy dArcy Thompson said:"As the bulbs, both crocus and daffodils, for which our Stray is famous will almost certainly have been decimated during the savage repair works needed post the event, the Stray Defence Association has been trying to turn a negative situation into a positive one.

"We have been in contact with several local charities and have also approached the council, to organise replanting.

"Everyone is very receptive of the idea but the council advise us that this may have to be delayed until next September."