On the evening of the 18 July 2019, the Harrogate BID (Business Improvement District) invited Yorkshire2019, the organisers of the UCI Cycle championship to update local businesses.
- The UCI Road World Championships is one of the world’s premier cycling events, and takes place for nine days from Saturday, 21 September 2019.
- Harrogate is the host town with all races finishing in the town with eight of the races using a Harrogate “inner circuit” route.
- The Harrogate BID is a group of 450 town centre businesses, levy payers, working to develop the town centre and local economy
The audience heard from Yorkshire2019 Communications Manager, Charlie Dewhirst. He gave an initial presentation followed by questions. He was pressed on the budget that the UCI had to deliver the event and if that would be shared with those businesses that would not benefit. He acknowledged that not all businesses would benefit, but for some there could be big benefit, such as in hospitality.
He explained that the UCI bought with it a following, both in person and through media coverage, but it was up to Harrogate what they made of it from there. There were some angry voices saying they have lost money during other cycle events, such as the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire. Mr Dewhirst countered that by saying it was a different type of event with Harrogate being the centre of the event, the largest sporting event in the UK this year, for multiple days. Although the debate was heated at times there was an apparent majority acceptance and support of the event.
John Fox, Chair of Harrogate BID said:
This was the second Harrogate BID Club meeting and we thought it was appropriate to make it an information evening around the UCI cycle championships in September. I would like to give my thanks to the UCI organisers for supporting the event and to the local businesses that came along. It is fair to say that there was fairly active discussion around pros and cons of the event for Harrogate, but the meeting was about focusing on how Harrogate could make the most of it. There were certainly some critical comments, but the majority were comments about what could be done to maximise the return for the town.
The meeting was supported by over 55 local businesses, with the leader of Harrogate Borough Council, Councillor Richard Cooper and Cabinet Member for Planning, Rebecca Burnett in attendance.