Harrogate Stray

Parliamentary approval granted for Cycling World Championships (UCI) in Harrogate but warns future events unlikely to be approved

15 April 2019

Parliamentary approval has been granted for the road cycling world championships to be held on Harrogate’s public parkland despite criticism of the local authority over the consultation process.

During 2017, Harrogate Borough Council consulted with the public on amending the Harrogate Stray Act 1985. It’s an act that restricts the use of the Stray for events to 35 days a year and a maximum of 3.5 hectares (8.6 acres or about 4 football pitches) per event. 53% of the respondents opposed changes to the act.

See new item from 2017  53% reject amending the Harrogate Stray Act

The House of Commons Regulatory reform committee has given a warning shot, for events like the UCI:

The Council’s repeated use of Localism Orders rather than seeking to permanently change the law was criticised, with any future events currently unlikely to be approved using this procedure.

The Committee has approved a draft order to allow the UCI World Championships to be hosted on the Stray in September.

The Committee found that there was widespread, but not universal, local support for the event and the potential benefits it would bring to the town. In supporting the proposals to allow the event to proceed, the Committee highlighted the importance of ensuring that the Stray was returned to its prior condition, and that access was retained as much as possible.

Chair of the Regulatory Reform Committee, Stephen McPartland MP, said:

The return of the UCI Road World Championships to the UK for the first time since 1982 is welcome and will cement the reputation of the country and of Yorkshire as a global cycling destination. I am pleased that the Committee has been able to recommend to Government that the draft Order to enable Harrogate to host the event should be made.

However, it is regrettable that Harrogate Borough Council left it so late before seeking a consultation and legislation on this issue, long after preparations had already begun. It is only the widespread public support and a track record from previous events that meant the Committee could accept this consultation as meeting the basic standards required.

In approving the draft Harrogate Stray Act 1985 (UCI Road World Championships) Order 2019, the Committee were concerned about Harrogate Borough Council’s methods of securing Parliamentary approval for the event.

The Council’s repeated use of Localism Orders rather than seeking to permanently change the law was criticised, with any future events currently unlikely to be approved using this procedure.

Following the Committee’s report, it is now for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to decide whether to make the draft Order that would allow the event to be held.

Cllr Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council said:

It is great news that we finally have the permissions in place that are necessary for Harrogate to host the UCI Road World Race Championships.

It will bring a huge economic boost for our area and I thank the Regulatory Reform Committee for that.

I don’t agree with all the Chairman’s comments but that is to look to the past rather than the future.

The important outcome is that the committee’s decision gives us greater certainty and clarity as we prepare for Harrogate to welcome the world.


  1. It really makes me sad that people protest on the use of the Stray, nobody wants constant use of it and we all want to retain its standard and beauty, but there is no valid reason why we cannot host 3 or 4 events per year on it, it brings money into the area and people genuinely enjoy it, it is about time we stopped listening to the complainers and get on with changing the law to allow limited use.

  2. When ever the county council & Harrogate council organise these cycling events do they ever think about the disabled who need to use a car to get to appointments or to family events when they close road in and around the area the last cycling event in Harrogat caused me to miss an important family event because were I live in Harrogate the roads were closed to traffic which left my wife and I in what felt like lock down as both my wife and I are disabled the use of a car is the only way we can caŕry out our daily routine having roads closed near to our home for any event causes us great stess but then all Harrogate council thinks of is money and not the wefare of its disabled residents

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