May I make a further contribution to the discussion on the proposal for the Stray.
Councillors feel that they are being misrepresented. I think not.
Before Christmas, Councillor Cooper was quoted as saying of Harrogate that: “It used to be a spa resort, then a conference and exhibition resort, now it has become the national and international venue of choice.”
Similarly, Councillor Harrison more recently stated that without the proposed amendment to the Stray Act, “more events on the scale of the Tour de France and the Tour de Yorkshire are unlikely to be possible and smaller events will be similarly restricted”.
People may be surprised at the suggestion that the conference and exhibition role is to follow that that of spa into history, but the overall aim is quite clear - the opening of the Stray to more and bigger events. It is this that I and others object to and certainly not to its use for such as charitable purposes.
These more and bigger events will without doubt cause damage to the Stray (the effects of the Christmas Fair, for example, are still clearly visible two months later) and goes against the essential purpose of this priceless asset as open for free access and recreation and as a beautiful open space in the very centre of a town. They will, in short, work to destroy something which makes the town special.
Moreover, who has decided that herein lies the town’s future and what concrete evidence exactly is there to support it? Even if this were a way forward, the town’s transport infrastructure is quite unable to cope.
In short, the direction of policy is fundamentally wrong and the existing arrangements for the Stray are sound and should not be altered.
Valley Road, Harrogate