Letter: The Stray - Major worries over its future

The Stray
The Stray

Your correspondent, Mr Wright, pre-empted my planned letter to you regarding the persistent problems with parking on Stray land.

I can assure him that this subject is not overlooked. This is something we are constantly bringing to the attention of all involved.

We discuss it in our meetings with HBC and it was a topic of concern at our AGM in July. Sadly, for all those who love, care and respect our beautiful Stray there are always those who, for whatever reason, flout the law and do, quite simply, what they wish and where they wish.

Their sense of ‘entitlement’ affects many parts of modern life and includes their view that they can park on the Stray wherever they please. It is not just the footballers, dog walkers and those who want to stroll the Stray, having left their vehicles on verges. In recent days two large ‘white vans’ decided to take a short cut across the Stray and became stuck. The damage caused by these numpties while getting their vehicles out was a disgrace.

In fairness to HBC, and the Parks & Environmental Services, they take this issue very seriously. Although care of the Stray is vested in them there is now a ‘conflict’ of sorts as NYCC Highways department are involved. HBC contacted them, unsuccessfully, in April about the damage to verges and on June 27 I wrote on behalf of The Stray Defence Association, to the officer who is in charge of Highways and Transportation, Area 6, based at Boroughbridge. In this I stated our concerns about, and I quote, “....continuing abuse of regulations regarding the Stray. Damage from illegally parked vehicles is particularly bad along Oatlands Drive, where the verges suffer continuous damage from such action. However, we have also noted such damage being caused on Otley Road, Skipton Road, Claro Road and Wetherby Road. Where parking on the wide verges of the latter has become particularly troublesome...”

Would you be surprised to learn that I have not received a response, merely an acknowledgement? When, clearly, NYCC take no note of complaints by either HBC or ourselves, it is far from reassuring to know that they have responsibility for these issues. Evidently NYCC are not actively engaged and would appear to have no interest in enforcing their legal requirements regarding the Stray.

All of this adds to our very considerable worries about the future of the Stray. If the law as it stands today cannot be enforced what hope would there be for our precious Stray were current regulations to be relaxed?

Judy d’Arcy Thompson


The Stray Defence Association