As Harrogate District Chamber chief executive I have to be careful about giving an opinion about anything, especially in print, but on this occasion I feel that I could risk the business community’s wrath and speak about the proposed changes to the Stray Act.
I realise it is our duty to look after such a beautiful and iconic space but it is also our duty to support the town’s growth and need to stay relevant and hold our own as other towns and cities inevitable scrabble to market themselves as “the best place to visit”.
If for no other reason than it will allow us to host future Tour de Yorkshires or in fact the 2019 Road World Championships, we need to allow the Act to be modified. We have been told that asking for one-off changes from Parliament will not be possible going forward, so change we must.
I am reassured that there will not be a wholesale free for all with events taking place every week as some people seem to fear and the Harrogate rumour mill suggests. It would not be in our best interest as a town to abuse this special landscape.
I was very surprised to hear that very few of the business community have responded to the survey and would ask that you do not lose your opportunity to have your say by visiting https://www.harrogate.gov.uk/strayact and filling in your own thoughts on the way forward.