In response to your request for local comments regarding Valley Gardens, I would like to express my views.
My husband and I live just 10 minutes’ walk from the gardens and thoroughly enjoy strolling through the peaceful and beautifully kept walkways.
We thought the fire garden event was magnificent and began a series of crowd-drawing spectacles over the summer. However, we were surprised at just how many events took place this year.
It was hardly surprising that by the latter part of the summer when the Streat food festival arrived, the lawns were beginning to flag. It was obvious when the heavy rain fell on the Saturday that things were looking really bad.
I am all in favour of these marvellous visitor draws to Harrogate which puts money into the local coffers. However, I do feel some of these events could be moved to The Stray and would thoroughly endorse a relaxing of the laws governing how often it can be used.
The West Park Stray area for instance, would be perfect for the Streat Food event and also the Christmas Fair would allow more room for people to move if it were held here. It’s an attractive area with the trees lit up for the festive season and it would enable visitors to see more of the town.
I feel extremely sorry for the volunteers of the charity group Friends of Valley Gardens who are doing a marvellous job in restoring it to its former glory. I’m sure this year they have felt it’s been one step forward and two back.
I hope my endorsement for change will help towards relaxing the laws for The Stray in order to give some respite for the Valley Gardens.