Protectors of The Stray in Harrogate slam 'atrocious' damage to grass caused by UCI World Championships

An aerial view of the Harrogate Fan Zone clearly shows damaged areas of grass
An aerial view of the Harrogate Fan Zone clearly shows damaged areas of grass
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Volunteers who care for The Stray have slammed organisers of the Harrogate Fan Zone after the UCI cycling events caused damage to the town's historic common.

Members of the Stray Defence Association say the condition of the grass is 'atrocious' following the end of the nine-day UCI Road World Championships races.

Waterlogged paths on The Stray

Waterlogged paths on The Stray

Otley cyclist Lizzie Deignan wore this heart-warming T-shirt for the UCI World Championships
They say it may take a 'very long time' to fully restore the town's much-loved parkland after heavy rainfall.

The organisers closed the Harrogate Fan Zone twice due to poor weather, and The Feeling's concert on Sunday night was cancelled.

The Stray Defence Association was first formed in 1933 to safeguard Harrogate's Stray against building and encroachment from all quarters and uphold the Act granting freedom of the Stray.

The SDA's chairwoman Judy d'Arcy Thompson said not enough protection had been provided by the organisers of the cycling event.

"No one looking at it could doubt the atrocious damage suffered by Harrogate’s Stray during the past weeks, particularly West Park Stray. Damage which is so appalling it is hard to quantify.

"It is our view that, despite the assurances we sought, and were given, from every public body that any damage would be minimized, far too little appropriate and adequate protection was provided for the Stray.

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"Long after such events leave town it is our Stray which remains, a constant and unique asset promoting Harrogate as a beautiful place to visit.

"What sort of feasibility study was done to ascertain potential destruction over such a lengthy period of appropriation?

"The Stray Defence Association has been contacted by many local people who, like ourselves, are deeply distressed by what has occurred.

"We fear that the full restoration of Harrogate’s wonderful Stray will take a very long time."