MPs have backed the lifting of restrictions on the use of the Harrogate Stray parkland to allow for the hosting of the Tour de Yorkshire legacy cycle race. The Regulatory Reform Committee concluded in a report published today that “a good case has been made in support of the proposals” and recommended that The Harrogate Stray Act 1985 (Tour de Yorkshire) Order 2016 be made.
The draft Order will temporarily lift restrictions, set out in a 1985 Act, on the use of parts of the 80-hectare open parkland so that it can host the Tour de Yorkshire, a multiple stage race developed following the region’s successful hosting of the Tour de France in 2014.
The Stray is managed by Harrogate Borough Council on behalf of the landowner, the Duchy of Lancaster. The Council anticipates that it will need to section of around 14.6 hectares of the Stray for up to 11 days for temporary infrastructure to support the Tour.
The Committee was asked to assess the Order by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
The Committee noted that the Council is consulting local residents and businesses on the principle of amending the Stray Act to modernise it and seeking views on the wider implications of permitting more events on the Stray.
Councillor Michael Harrison, Deputy Leader of Harrogate Borough Council said: The decision is great news for Harrogate, as the Tour de Yorkshire will once again put the district on the global stage, boost tourism and have a positive long term impact on the local economy.
Harrogate is gaining an enviable reputation as a location for events such as this which appeal to both residents and visitors, however the Stray Act prevents us from hosting the larger events. Our approach so far has been to persuade Government to suspend parts of the Act temporarily – and whilst we are grateful for their support, Government has made it very clear to us that this costly, highly irregular, complex and time-consuming process will not be tolerated indefinitely.
Ultimately, if Harrogate wishes to hold large events such as this in the future, then the Stray Act will need to be amended to include a mechanism to allow this.
This is why we are currently holding a public consultation to see whether the public would like to see a modest increase in the number and type of events held annually on the Stray – but with suitable safeguards retained in the Act that has protected the Stray for generations. I would urge people to respond to the consultation by visiting https://www.harrogate.gov.uk/strayact