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Chairwoman of the Stray Defence Association says it will take "a very long time" to reverse the damage caused by heavy flooding...

Leading guardians of The Stray in Harrogate say it may take a "very long time" to restore the grounds of the park back to its previous condition, after heavy flooding combined with huge crowds and churning from heavy goods vehicles on site has left deep mud and giant puddles all over the previously green grounds. 

The Stray Defence Association was set up in 1933 to protect the grounds from encroachment and uphold an act that grands "freedom of the Stray to all people for all time", but the SDA's chairwomen Judy d'Arcy Thompson says this wasn't adhered to when it was used as the Fan Zone for the World Championships. She told the Harrogate Advertiser: "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 minimised, far too little appropriate and adequate protection was provided for the Stray.
"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."

The weather was so bad that organisers were forced to cancel the planned headline musical performance from The Feeling on Sunday evening, and it's certainly the worst weather for a Worlds in our recent collective memories - was this simply an unprecedented weather event that no one could have foresaw, or could the organisers have done more? Let us know your thoughts if you made the soggy trip to Yorkshire last week... 

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He joined road.cc in 2017 having previously being Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine, and reports on all things tech as well as editing road.cc's live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.