Next year, cycling fever is set to hit the district once again with Harrogate hosting a stage of the Tour de Yorkshire 2017.
As part of hosting this major Yorkshire sporting event, which will take place on the weekend of 28-30 April 2017, there will be a requirement to use sections of the Stray in Harrogate for a potential spectator hub/fan park and to accommodate the support and media vehicles that are needed to deliver the event.
As in 2014, when the town hosted the Tour de France stage 1 finish, the council has approached the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to apply for the temporary relaxation of some sections of the Stray Act for the limited areas needed for the Tour de Yorkshire from 23 April to 3 May 2017. However, this time period may be less due to the Tour de Yorkshire being 50% smaller that the Tour de France with less international media and foreign visitors in attendance.
Details are still emerging as to what exactly will be happening on the days leading up to, during and immediately after the event. The council anticipates that the area of the West Park Stray bordering the A61 will be used just as it was for the Tour de France, while a small area on the corner of Oatlands Drive and Knaresborough Road may need to be established for overflow parking.
Nigel Avison, Director of Economy and Culture at Harrogate Borough Council, who is leading on this for the council who manage the land on behalf of the Duchy of Lancaster said:
Whilst the Duchy of Lancaster are supportive of Harrogate hosting the Tour de Yorkshire, the Stray Act prevents or restricts what activities can take place on the Stray.
As consequence, the council have submitted an application to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government asking him to use the general power of competence to relax these restrictions.
As custodians of the Stray, we will be working with highly respected organisations such as the Stray Defence Association, to ensure the land will be well looked after and will be fully reinstated after the Tour has taken place. We received high praise for the way in which the Stray was restored quickly after the Tour de France moved on.
In implementing the above arrangements for the Tour de Yorkshire in 2017, the council wants to ensure that all interested parties are aware of its plans and have the opportunity to comment.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is now consulting on the proposal to temporarily disapply the relevant sections of the Stray Act. As well as directly inviting comments from a number of statutory bodies, the government will also welcome comments from members of the public, local businesses, groups and societies. Responses must be received 19 May 2016.
Consultation documents are available to view at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/tour-de-yorkshire-2017-in-harrogate-general-power-of-competence or alternatively on the council’s website at http://www.harrogate.gov.uk/cpi/Pages/Have-your-say.aspx
A map showing the areas on the Stray which would be disapplied is available to view at the council’s Crescent Gardens offices in Harrogate.
Responses can be sent to TDY2017@communities.gsi.gov.uk or posted to Ruth Miller, Department of Communities and Local Government,2nd floor North East, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1 4DF.