Local Government Review — May 2014: straying from the general power of competence

Those living in Yorkshire cannot have failed to notice that the Grand Depart of the Tour de France is beginning in God’s own county this summer. The finish of the first stage is in Harrogate, next to the Stray, a large open area of land in the middle of Harrogate. Use of the Stray is governed by the Harrogate Stray Act 1985. Harrogate Borough Council was concerned that the 1985 act prevented or restricted them from siting necessary infrastructure on the Stray to host the Tour de France. So it wrote to the secretary of state asking him to make an order to disapply certain parts of the 1985 act for 16 days so that they could section off a quarter of the Stray and erect temporary infrastructure.

Section 1 of the Localism Act 2011 gives councils a general power of competence to do anything that an individual can do…

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