£19,000 to be spent measuring UCI cycling champ's economic impact on Harrogate

Harrogate Borough Council will spend 19,000 analysing the impact of the region's latest biking event.
Harrogate Borough Council will spend 19,000 analysing the impact of the region's latest biking event.

Harrogate Borough Council will spend £19,000 on consultants who will be tasked with reporting what economic impact the UCI Cycling Championships has on the district.

The move, which will see multi-national accounting giants Ernst & Young analyse the financial aftermath of the bike race, was approved by the authority's cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development, Graham Swift, earlier this month.

Ernst & Young have already been commissioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to assess the economic impact of Yorkshire 2019 for the region as a whole, with the district council now following their lead.

It comes as a report on the matter states that employing the same company as the UCI would save the council money by avoiding duplication that would otherwise occur if a different firm was appointed.

The report adds that using a different supplier could see conflicting findings arise which would prevent "significant communication issues" for the council and UCI, who will look to collate their findings.

"(Ernst & Young) are, therefore, uniquely placed to provide services at a lower cost than competitors and in a way that is acceptable to all partners," the report from the council states.

The total price of the contract is worth £19,000, excluding VAT, which will come from a portion of the Leeds City Region Business Rates Pool which has been allocted for use with the UCI.

The report intends to include the type of accommodation, event satisfaction and the "tourism legacy" of the event - with the latter term meaning the likelihood of a visitor returning or recommending the town.

It will also include Harrogate-specific measures of economic impact, including the number of visitors and amount of nights stayed, spending, and the impact of the event on employment.

The report is expected to be completed by December 2019, however it may be held up at the request of the UCI to coincide with the wider regional report.

"There is likely to be a press release immediately following the event to share any initial measures of success," the council's report states.

A study on the social impact of Yorkshire 2019 is also being conducted by Dr Girish Ramchandani and his team at Sheffield Hallam University at the request of the UCI and Sport England.

Their report will have a heavy focus on Harrogate and the impact of the UCI on physical and mental wellbeing, individual development, social development and community cohesion.

The championship will take place for nine days from September 21 to 29, with up to 250,000 fans expected to descend upon North Yorkshire to view the cycling action.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter