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Fresh row in Harrogate over UCI Road Worlds graffiti and bill to repair 'devastated' Stray

Six weeks after the championships finished, the arguments rumble on

More than a month after the UCI Road World Championships finished in Yorkshire, arguments over the cost of restoring The Stray in Harrogate to its former condition continue to rumble on – and now, a fresh row has broken out over cleaning up graffiti painted on the road surface by fans.

Torrential rain during the 10-day event resulted in the Fan Zone on The Stray – commonly-owned grassland in the heart of the North Yorkshire town – being closed for the final day of the championships, with flooding and mud making conditions too dangerous.

> Guardians of The Stray in Harrogate claim site has been left with "atrocious damage" due to World Champs Fan Zone flooding

Leeds Live reports that Harrogate Borough Council will need to find an extra £21,000 in funding to make good the damage caused to the parkland during the championships in late September.

The amount is disclosed in a report on the local authority’s finances which is due to be examined by the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, which also reveals a £12,000 overspend by the council on culture, tourism and sport.

The council is however hopeful that the event’s insurers will help fund the repairs due to the exceptional weather conditions during the event.

Now, the Stray Defence Association, which has been highly critical of the state the park was left in after the championships, has turned its sights on another target – the graffiti painted on the roads of the closing circuit by fans looking to encourage their favourite riders.

The Harrogate Advertiser reports the association’s chair, Judy d’Arcy-Thompson, as saying: "During the UCI cycling event these two roads had large amounts of graffiti, in the form of numerous white cartoon-like faces painted on both sides of the road, at approximately a metre apart.

"In addition, the white line down the centre of the road had large and frequent arrows painted onto it, pointing, I assume, in the direction the cyclists in the event were travelling.

"It's not only unsightly but these illegal road markings are potentially hazardous."

The newspaper reports that North Yorkshire County Council, the relevant highways authority, is now cataloguing the graffiti ahead of drawing up a plan for its removal.

Meanwhile, the Harrogate Advertiser has fact-checked five claims made by critics of the event in its aftermath, relating to the cost as well as the condition of The Stray, and found that three are false and only two partially correct.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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