Harrogate Borough Council spend £1/4 million on bike race without a business case

7 April 2017

Harrogate Borough Council have committed £250,000 of public money to host a finish stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.

The spend is made up of £100,000 as event hosting fee to the organiser and £150,000 for event management costs.

The Harrogate Informer has spent a number of weeks seeking clarification on the spend, but failed to gain any clarity.

We have asked requested a copy of a business and it has not been forthcoming.

Following the return of a Freedom of Information Request, HBC confirmed that there was not a business case in place and that justification for the spend was based upon the Tour de France.

The Tour de France received a very mixed response from many Harrogate Businesses, with one large retailer reporting a loss of trade of over £10,000 for what would have been expected.

Additionally, although the event is on the 29 April 2017, Harrogate Borough Council are unwilling to provide any information on the the finish-line entertainments. Although it is believed to be of a similar style to the Tour de France finish, nothing has been released.

For £1/4 million spend most businesses would put a business case together, but that is not the case here.

We have actively tried to work with the Council to gain a greater understanding around the event but this has been received with resistance.

We will endeavour to seek further clarity on how your money will be spent.



  1. How can the success of this investment to assessed without a business case or some set of commercial outcomes to measure against? As a council tax payer I find it unacceptable that money is committed in this way without a transparent case being made

  2. The Tour de France was a total disaster for local businesses, we have been in the retail trade for 26+ years and can honestly say it was the worst Saturday trade EVER. We have yet to speak to any retailers in towns where the race went through that doesn’t think the same, the thousands of people it brought out to watch, came equipt with picnics and chairs to line the route, not to shop, the publicity about road closures kept the real shoppers away. This just shows the arrogance of the HBC, no business sense whatsoever!

  3. If only we had some means of holding them to account, you know something that would allow us to get rid of some of these nebulous people who repeatedly make poor decisions in shadowy committee meetings. Maybe an election or something, we could have the opportunity to choose someone new who might just be capable of representing the 21st century electorate of the Harrogate Borough. Imagine it, we could clear out the perpetual old guard who we’ve complained about for decades … oh wait, what was I thinking, here’s to apathy and the re-election of same old relics of a bygone age at the County Council this year and ground hog day at the Borough council elections in 2018.
    May the 4th be with you.

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