It was interesting reading through the large number of letters in the Harrogate Advertiser last week alone, to see the huge support against any amendment to the Stray Act.
But in the end will the council take any notice of this lobbying when deciding whether to apply for the so called “modernisation” of the Act? Sadly, I doubt it.
The Stray has served the town well and will continue to do so in its present form well into the future.
Along with Valley Gardens, the Stray is a unique and precious jewel in the town. Do the council appreciate and understand this?
The desire to amend the Act is clearly a money making exercise and more intensive use, even for smaller events, will only cause considerably more mess and damage than we already experience.
Witness the large muddy patches which greet residents and visitors following the Christmas Fayre and the state of Valley Gardens following the Street Food Festival.
Why not consider locating both these and other future small events onto the existing pedestrian streets or other similar hard paved areas of the town centre.
It would be much quicker, easier and cheaper to clean these areas and would not leave a muddy wasteland.
For other events Harrogate already has a number of venues, exhibition halls and locations which I am sure could be put to more intensive use. Yes, a large scale event every two or three years would be good for the town but under the control of the existing Stray Act.
In general, the appearance of the Stray has deteriorated in recent years with a noticeable increase in litter, graffiti, benches that are not clean or fit to sit on and, for example, the verges on Beech Grove looking more like a ploughed field.
What a vision to greet visitors to Harrogate.
The proposed more intensive use will only compound the problem and destroy this valuable asset beyond repair.