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The Tour de Yorkshire 2019 can through Harrogate today, with the ladies at around 11:50am and the mens at 5pm.
It has had particular significance for Harrogate as it is the first time the UCI Harrogate circuit has been trialled. That’s a loop from West Park, Otley Road, Beckwithshaw, Penny Pot Lane, Pinewoods, down Valley Drive, up Cornwall Road, through the Duchy, looping around to Swan Road, Crescent Gardens and then up Parliament Street.
Significance in that for many they are watching to see the negative impact it has on the town, but there are also many looking at the gains, both for small business and the Harrogate offering.
The reaction within Harrogate has been mixed, with some voicing anger on social media at the delays it caused. The traffic management did however seem to work well with closures only being for the minimum of time.
John Fox, chairman of Harrogate BID (Business Improvement District), said:
The exposure from the Tour de Yorkshire gives us an unparalleled opportunity to showcase Harrogate to a worldwide audience, and from the BID’s perspective, we will be grasping this with both hands.
And, once the cyclists have passed through the town, Harrogate has everything needed to keep visitors entertained in terms of world-class shops, restaurants and bars.
Matthew Hole, general manager of Harrogate’s Majestic Hotel, said:
Being a town centre hotel we welcome any event that places Yorkshire, and more importantly Harrogate, in the public spotlight. Today’s race is a precursor for September’s UCI world road cycling championships, where we will be playing host to a number of teams, as well as being a media base.
We recognise the value of opportunities like this, and, as we near the completion of a £15m transformation of the Majestic hotel and rebrand to a Doubletree by Hilton this autumn, we are doing everything possible to capitalise on it.
Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council said:
We are getting used to welcoming national and international events to the Harrogate district and rolling out a big Yorkshire welcome.
The Tour de Yorkshire is fast becoming one of the go-to events in the cycling calendar and I know that Harrogate is becoming well-known as the UK centre of cycling.
That is why I am pleased to welcome the Tour de Yorkshire to our district. I hope the crowds will turn out to watch and that the cyclists enjoy taking part as much as we will enjoy seeing our area share the international limelight with them.
Keren Shaw, general manager of Weetons, said:
Our team are fully supportive of any initiatives to increase footfall to the area which in turn may help support local independent businesses like ourselves
Nicola Matthews, Headteacher at Brackenfield School said:
We definitely believe that the inspiration that the children will take from watching the cyclists go past the school and the excitement of the whole entourage will far outweigh any inconvenience.
We have made a slight modification to our finish time this afternoon so that difficulties are minimised, but we are extremely excited to be so close to the action.
In fact, we have made the school site available to parents to stay with their children to watch the men after normal Friday finishing time.
Sally Monkman of BOHO CHIC on West Park said:
It’s been a total disaster for us with the road closures and no parking along West Park – I haven’t taken anything for two days.
Seems mad they are trying to help us on the one hand with the new map and completely disregarding local businesses with these cycle races.
Not to mention all the resurfacing etc prior to the race.
Shame they can’t just do the same for the residents who pay the taxes.
Nine days road closures in September could just be too much for my little shop.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:
I fully recognise the concerns of residents, schools and businesses who foresee disruption during the nine days of the UCI World Championships.
My NYCC electoral division includes the Duchy Estate and Queen Ethelburga’s Estate, which will be at the centre of the Harrogate Circuit.
NYCC Highways officers and representatives of Yorkshire 2019 have been in touch already with local organisations and individuals to understand fully their concerns and to seek to address them.
I will attend the Duchy Residents’ Association AGM later this month (as I do every year) along with the lead NYCC Officer for the UCIs, in order to continue discussions to ensure that daily lives are not unduly disrupted, and that everyone feels able to welcome this event, prized worldwide, to our town.
Steve Scarre, President of the Harrogate Chamber, said:
The Chamber is very supportive of the cycling events coming to Harrogate. They bring many visitors to our town with the UCI attracting hundreds of thousands. This can only be good for the local economy. Hotels, B&B’s and Restaurants will be the main beneficiaries but other town centre retailers if they grasp the opportunity should also benefit financially. I know that most hotels are booked up for the full period in September therefore visitors will have lots of time to wander in between the races over an extended period.
If Retailers plan to do something a bit different during this period including applying for pop ups in the town centre selling maybe special T shirts and other UCI branded clothing and jewellery are only two examples. They must persevere with the Council to make this happen. Street parties come to mind also.
It is such an opportunity for them I believe and the Chamber will do all it can to help negotiate with the Council.
People unfortunately remember back to 2014, the Tour de France when the road signage was something like “Town Centre Closed”. This was in respect of the road closures. I hope that the Organisers are making sure that the road closed signage is very clear that it is only the roads that are closed for a limited period and that the town centre is open for business.
People are coming from all over the world to Harrogate, let’s give them something to remember and you never know they may return and tell their friends what a wonderful place Harrogate and the surrounding district is.