Businesses in Pateley Bridge have expressed their concerns over the impact of the UCI Road World Championships.
The cycling event, which takes place across 9 days in September, coincides with the biggest event in the Nidderdale calendar, the Nidderdale Show.
Many residents have raised worries about the impact this will have on the integral event, including how it could be affected by road closures.
Sam Jackson, owner of Teacups Cafe, said she believes that the cycling extravaganza will be more of a hinderance than a help for the area and that there has been no consideration of the show.
She said: “This is just such a massive inconvenience. It is at the same time as the Nidderdale Show - that’s the event of the Dales. It’s such an important day for us. It’s a huge event, the biggest we have here, and it means so much. It’s our day, but the cycling could cause massive disruption and we have not been thought about at all. It absolutely beggars belief.”
Two races will pass through Pateley Bridge throughout the UCI, with the men’s under 23 road race on Friday, September 27 and the women’s elite road race on Saturday, September 28.
Although the races do not take place in the town on the same day as Nidderdale Show, many locals have voiced concerns about traffic from Harrogate on the day as major roads into the area could be closed.
Lizzy Clayton, owner of Clayton’s Carpets, Homestyles and Gifts, said: “The races might not come through Pateley on the actual show day, but this whole thing has a knock-on effect. If all the roads around Harrogate are closed, how are people going to get here? The show is for Nidderdale but it’s also for the whole area, so people could be travelling from anywhere.”
Organiser of the UCI Road World Championships, Yorkshire 2019, said it had been working in cooperation with the organisers of the Nidderdale Show to minimise disruption.
It said: “With cycling only taking place in the centre of Harrogate on the day of the show it was agreed that both events could take place unhindered. Following the show, Nidderdale will host some of the world’s very best cyclists – with two UCI Road World Championships races coming through Pateley Bridge. I am sure they will give the riders and spectators a fantastic Yorkshire welcome.”
As worries surrounding the event grow in Pateley Bridge, some businesses are considering reducing their opening hours around the races, with some even closing altogether.
Owners of Clayton’s Carpets, Homestyle and Gifts are considering shorter opening hours because they feel that their business will not benefit from the event.
Lizzy Clayton, owner of Clayton’s Carpets, said: “There’s no real point being open for long because we won’t do any business. We’re not expecting many customers and the crowds will probably be a nightmare anyway.”
The Brick by Brick LEGO shop will be closed when the races pass through Pateley Bridge.
Owner Mark Ashton, said: “We are closing the shop on the Friday September 27 and Saturday September 28, despite those usually being quite busy days for us.
“It’s just not physically possible for us to be open. Our location, right at the bottom of Greenhow Hill, means our property is the last safe place to stand and watch the race, so everyone congregates outside our shop.
“We have never taken any money from cycling events before, and usually we get no benefits. We have people climbing on our property, causing damage, and we don’t make money because tourists aren’t interested and locals specifically avoid the area.”
As locals have raised concerns about losing money and not seeing any benefits from the event, Mayor of Pateley Bridge Christine Skaife has asked people not to focus on past experiences and to think of the long-term effects.
She said: “There are so many teams and riders that require accommodation etc, not to speak of those that are coming to watch. People will be staying for longer and have the opportunity to explore the area more. Hopefully this will leave its own legacy that will be of benefit to businesses in the months, years to come.
“Coupled with this will be the TV coverage to over 250 million viewers, hopefully some will like what they see and plan to pay us a visit in the future.”
Issues with car parking have also been raised by residents, who are worried about limited availability and the possibility of people abandoning their cars to watch the races. However, North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) has said that this is being taken care of.
David Bowe, Corporate Director, Business and Environmental Services at NYCC, said: “We are working with the showground to see what car parking can be made available on 27 and 28 September to accommodate spectators in Pateley Bridge and to encourage them to sample the fabulous range of shops, cafes and pubs in the town. Some businesses have told us they benefit greatly from the cycling events, so we are keen to work with them and the community to make the event an opportunity to showcase the town.”