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£200,000 to make Great Yorkshire Show more weather resistant
WORK has begun to make the Great Yorkshire Showground more resilient to heavy rain, in an effort to prevent another cancellation.
More than £200,000 is to be spent on tackling areas of the Harrogate showground that became waterlogged following torrential rainfall last month.
Organisers were forced to cancel the show after one day in a decision they described as “heartbreaking”.
Car parks became treacherous with mud, leaving traders and motorists having to be towed on and off the site.
Other areas of the showground flooded. By the afternoon, a decision had to be taken to call off the show for the first time in 154 years.
Great Yorkshire Show director Bill Cowling said they had already had up to 6,000 tonnes of stone ready to create more roads leading into the car parks and were looking at improving drains that were obviously faulty.
Mr Cowling said: “Most of the car parks are used agriculturally through the year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put extra roads in. We can.
“Within the showground there’s one or two places where it is apparent drainage needs to be rectified or looked at. There’s a couple of places in the main ring and in some of the trade stand areas. We’ll put extra drainage in those areas.”
The cancellation of the show left the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), the charity which organisers the show, with a £2m bill for ticket refunds, remedial work to car parks, cancelled attractions and reimbursing showground businesses.
It is hoped the investment in the ground’s infrastructure should ensure next year’s show goes ahead no matter what the weather.
Mr Cowling said it would be unreasonable to assume the venue could be made completely weather resistant.
“It’s an outdoor event, but we can do our best to make it better,” he said. “We’ve started doing that already. It all adds up to a major improvement.
“The weather may be exceptional, but we seem to be getting a pattern of heavier rainfall.
It’s something all shows, large or small, have to look at.”
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