But one side has now hailed what it described as a “small victory” as Harrogate Borough Council agreed to convert a triangular portion of land outside the Swan Hotel, currently used as a car park, back into green grass.
Judy d’Arcy Thompson, chair of Stray Defence Association, said: “The Stray Defence Association are delighted it will be returned to its original state.
“This is, and always has been, Stray land but it was ashphalted over for car parking some years back.
“After approaching the council about this, and following several months of negotiation, we are pleased that Harrogate Borough Council are now set to remove the asphalt and return this whole area of land to grass.
“It’s a small but significant achievement for those of us who love the Stray and seek to ensure its future for the people of Harrogate.”
The saga may be a case of what is a driver’s loss is the Stray’s gain but the SDA argued it was important to retain the entire integrity of this historic parkland
They said at one point they were offered the return of 25 per cent of the disputed patch of land but they held their resolve.
Harrogate Borough Council is now understood to be developing the plan to start the conversion in early summer, in order to get on with the planting of the grass.
It is also liaising with North Yorkshire County Council to remove the area from on street parking orders.
The SDA is also currently involved in a series of meetings with the authorities over future developments on the road and path system in the Otley Road area including a new Otley Road cycle way and junction widening which may involve Stray land.
The SDA says its concern is that, whatever happens, not an inch of Stray land or trees is touched