Following HBC’s response as set out in Graham Chalmers’ article in the Harrogate Advertiser, the sentence that stood out for me was: “However there is an appetite for occasional larger events, perhaps one or two a year.”
Following the tremendous success of the Tour de France and with the Tour de Yorkshire coming up, I can understand the need to extend the current parameters within the Stray Act to allow for set-up and dismantling of event structures.
The size and complexity of such really big events would benefit from being allowed to utilise the Stray’s glorious amount of open space. That’s one factor. Large events boost the local economy in terms of income and long-term commercial benefits.
It would be naive not to acknowledge that we are of course in competition with other places and it is important to maintain Harrogate’s profile for business, conferences and tourism.
So long as the consultation process is properly conducted and the resulting provisional amendments carefully managed, I would support amendments that would allow exclusion of build and dismantling time from the 35 day limit and increase the 3.5 hectare limit for events, provided that the nature and type of event is clearly specified.
It’s worth remembering that other organisers will be watching this with more than a passing interest and I therefore hope that I can trust the council’s assurance that there will be no “car parks, tarmac or buildings” on the Stray.