Review into controversial impact of UCI Road World Championships races on Harrogate to be published this year

The findings of a council-run review into Harrogate’s hosting of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships could be revealed before the end of this year.

Post-UCI damage to the West Park Stray

Members of Harrogate Council’s overview and scrutiny commission are running the review into the cycling event which was hailed as a success by organisers but criticised by many businesses and residents who had complaints over road closures and diversions.

The nine-day event will also be remembered for leaving West Park Stray severely damaged after the parkland was used as a spectator area during heavy rainfall, with repairs works and upgrades later costing £130,000.

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Coun Nick Brown, who is one of several councillors leading the cross-party review, told a meeting on Monday that the commission had asked residents to give their views on the event as part of a consultation which will now be opened up to businesses.

He said: “The public consultation has been undertaken - we have got about 700 responses which for a consultation is quite a lot.

“Those have been analysed and we are going to do some further consultation with the business community and a number of other organisations.

“This has taken rather longer than I would have liked, but obviously we have had Covid so it has not been a very easy time. We will hopefully have a report to the commission in December.”

If the findings are published in December, it will mark more than two years since the event was held in September 2019 when hundreds of international cyclists competed in races starting in different towns and cities across Yorkshire but with each finishing in Harrogate.

The review of the event was launched last year with the aim of “building on its successes and identifying any areas for improvement to inform the organisation of future events,” the council previously said.

It is also separate to an economic impact study of the event which was carried out by accountancy firm Ernst and Young at a cost of £19,000 to the council.

The study concluded the championships was watched by a global television audience of 329m and resulted in an economic boost to the local economy of £17.8m.

However, it did not take into account losses by businesses affected by road closures and a reported drop in town centre footfall - something the new review is aiming to cover.