Cllr Richard Cooper, the Leader of the Council has responded with the Council’s position in a number of areas.
In summary, their responses:
- Any responsibility of loss from local business is not with HBC
- It is HBC’s responsibility to restore the damage to the Stray
- They have refused to answer how the authority made the decision to support Harrogate being the hub town for the UCI
- Their main issue on communications was around bin collections
Cllr Richard Cooper gave us the following answers.
How do you believe the UCI went ?
I wish the weather had not been so terrible, so much worse than normal, so that we could have made an assessment under normal conditions.
However, it seemed to me if you look at social media, and on the Harrogate Informer survey, the clear majority of people felt it went well, enjoyed it and thought it raised the profile of the town.
At a recent meeting of local business, many said they had lost significantly due to the UCI event. What would you say to them and will you help them in any way ?
Harrogate Borough Council did not organise the event and North Yorkshire County Council we’re responsible for highways closures. On any aspects of the event for which Harrogate Borough Council we’re responsible – such as litter collection, reinstatement of the Stray, street trading consents and others – we will of course respond to feedback.
At that meeting, there were many that wanted a meeting with HBC so they could put questions to you directly, would you agree to that ?
I am very happy to discuss aspects of any of Harrogate Borough Council’s responsibilities with any one who wishes to contact me about them. For event organisation and highways closures though these should be addressed to the organisations responsible.
What is your view on the damage to the Stray, who will pay for it to be repaired ?
The weather really didn’t help the Stray and, like with the Great Yorkshire Show, a few years ago, we need to work hard to reinstate it. Our staff will be on it as soon as we regain access to assess what needs to be done and how much it will cost.
We will look at all sources of funding but reinstatement is ultimately the Borough Council’s responsibility.
HBC has engaged a consultancy to look at the benefits of the UCI to the town, how will they undertake that .
HBC has contributed to the costs of an economic impact study. The consultancy, Ernst & Young, will conduct the study according to industry standards and it would be wrong for me to prescribe how it should be done as someone who is not an expert in this field.
When HBC wrote a letter of support for the UCI and to be a hub town, how did you know that was the right decision for the town ?
Whatever one’s view of the event, it is undeniable that it brought a great many visitors to town and I have already had emails, and seen on social media, that many are planning to come back. Appearing for nine days solid on the main TV channels of 60 countries with around 200 million people watching is publicity for our town that you simply cannot buy.
What do you believe will be the longer term economic gain to the town ?
Even a small uplift in the amount of tourism to the town sustained over a long period will have a huge impact on the economic stability of Harrogate.
Was there sufficient engagement with the general public ?
In terms of things the Borough Council are responsible for I believe there was. Our main issue was bin collections and I think we communicated the revised dates and arrangements we’ll because collection rates for domestic and trade waste throughout the event were high.
In terms of road closures, security, business engagement etc this is something you would need to address to those who are responsible for those aspects.
Did HBC give Yorkshire2019 everything they asked for and do you think your represented the local residents well ?
HBC were clear from the outset of their responsibilities and what they were expected to deliver. To the best of my knowledge Yorkshire2019 have no complaints and our primary responsibility now is reinstating the Stray.