Extra £21,000 needs to be found to fix Harrogate's Stray, new report reveals

Harrogate Borough Council will have to find up to £21,000 in additional funding to help repair the town's battered Stray, a report to be discussed by councillors has revealed.

Monday, 4th November 2019, 3:14 pm
Updated Monday, 4th November 2019, 3:15 pm

Further details of the cost of fixing the town's prized Stray park are contained in an update on the authority's financial position to be presented to the council's overview and scrutiny committee.

The report states an overspend of £12,000 in the council's culture, tourism and sport sector; a deterioration of £26,000 from the quarter one update.

Chief culprit for the overspend is repair work stemming from the UCI Cycling Championships, when a swathe of the Stray was left a muddy bog after being used as a hosting venue for the Fan Zone.

According to the report, the estimated unbudgeted costs of fixing the Stray can be partly funded by anticipated savings against budgeted costs of the event and from the District Improvement Fund.

However, this still leaves an estimated cost of at least £21,000 which the council will have to find funding for.

The report also states that the figure is based on a "best-estimate of the costs of work at this stage".

It adds the council is continuing to pursue an insurance payout from Yorkshire 2019 to help repair the Stray, a move the local democracy reporting service revealed last month.

Speaking at the time, Harrogate Borough Council leader Richard Cooper said he hoped the volume of rain over the UCI, which ran from September 22-29, would see insurers of the event contribute to costs arising from damage to the park.

"Let's not deny acknowledging the amount of rain we got (during UCI) was extraordinary," he said.

"Hopefully the insurance company will accept it was out of the ordinary."

It came after members of the Stray Defence Association, the volunteer guardians of the park, reported concerns over the length of time the park was occupied to Michael Gove MP in his capacity as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, claiming that the situation means Harrogate Borough Council is now in breach of the law.

In response to the association’s complaints, the Duchy of Lancaster said it is pressing the issue with the council. Elsewhere in the council's report, the council's current general funds position is given as a £22,000 spend over its planned budget.

This time last year the council faced a projected £373k overspend on general funds; while the year before the council had a projected underspend of £1.071m.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter