Council to examine economic impact of UCIs in Harrogate

Council to examine economic impact of UCIs in Harrogate

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 12:07pm 4th March 2020.

They've set up a working group to look at a range of issues, including the state of the Stray.

  • The council are promising a 'proper' scoping study into how Harrogate's economy was impacted by last September's cycling event.
  • A mix of Conservative and Lib Dem councillors will sit on the working group
  • One of the issues they'll examine is the state of the Stray, which was left damaged after wet weather during the event.

A council working group has launched a “proper” scoping study into how Harrogate’s economy was impacted by the 2019 UCI Road World Championships. 

Members of Harrogate Borough Council’s overview and scrutiny committee will come together to address key questions they say have been left unanswered after the controversial cycling event was held in September. 

An Ernst & Young economic and visitor impact study – which was commissioned by the council – said the event brought a £17.8million boost to the district’s economy. But the study was also criticised for not taking into account some businesses’ losses during the nine-day event.

 

An aerial image of The Stray following UCI, commissioned by the Stray Defence Association.
An aerial image showing The Stray in Harrogate following the UCIs

 

Lib Dem leader councillor Pat Marsh said the formation of the working group is “not about criticising, but about learning” from the event. 

Cllr Marsh said:

“This is such an important issue for the town and district. We need to get a balanced report – not just relying on Ernst & Young – with proper scoping.”

The working group will be made up of a mix of Conservative and Lib Dem councillors – and one area they will be focusing on is the Stray which was damaged during the event’s wet weather. 

Up until the end of January, more than £50,000 had been spent on restoration works at the town’s iconic parkland before the damage was compounded by February’s record-breaking rainfall.

 

The UCI riders peleton speeding through Yorkshire

 

Harrogate Borough Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development, councillor Graham Swift, had hit back at the criticism, saying:

“Rather than focusing efforts on criticising the work of EY, I would encourage readers to participate in the future of our wonderful district.

“We have a vibrant town centre with an outstanding district landscape and by advertising our heritage and our attractions we will remain so.”

The council spent a total of £1,305,660 on the event – but this cost was offset using £673,000 from the Leeds City Region business rates pool and £27,000 income.