UCI organisers rule out compensation for Harrogate businesses claiming they lost out from cycling event

The UCI was broadcast across the world last month, but traders say they have lost out.
The UCI was broadcast across the world last month, but traders say they have lost out.

The organisers of the UCI Cycling Championships, Yorkshire 2019, have ruled out providing financial compensation to Harrogate businesses who claim they were negatively impacted by the flagship riding event.

The statement comes as Harrogate Borough Council revealed it is working with Yorkshire 2019 in an attempt to have the organiser's insurers pay some of the cost of restoring The Stray, after it was left a muddy bog following more than a week of rain and hosting the tournament's fan zone.

The developments follow a meeting of local businesses last week which saw multiple Harrogate town traders call for reimbursement, claiming they had been treated as "collateral damage" during the UCI.

However, a Yorkshire 2019 spokeperson stated that reimbursement from the organisation would not be forthcoming.

"We’re sorry if some businesses have reported a reduction in trade during the UCI Road World Championships, but we’re not in the position to offer compensation," he said.

He added the organisation had worked in-depth with local traders ahead of the event to help them capitalise on the races.

"We liaised extensively with businesses in the three years leading up to the championships to ensure they had the opportunity to mitigate against any impact on trade, and equally capitalise on the opportunity," the spokesperson said.

"We’re delighted that many businesses were able to do that, and experience the positive benefits that the championships brought about."

The organisation also said it was "hugely proud" of the amount of attention the championships had drawn to the district.

"An independent economic impact study is currently being conducted and the results will be shared in due course," they said.

"We’re hugely proud of the exposure we generated for the Harrogate borough, and Yorkshire as a whole, and the benefits of hosting the event will be felt for many years to come."

More than 100 representatives of the business community met last week to debate the impact of the UCI, with multiple sections voicing anger at closed roads and reduced footfall, as well as the much-hyped "one million visitors" not turning up as rain lashed the event.

Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council have both already dismissed the idea of providing compensation to businesses as they were not the event organiser.

The county council echoed Yorkshire 2019's position, stating it had worked closely with the organiser to widely advertise road closures and help businesses plan for the event.

Both UCI and Harrogate Borough Council have commissioned finance giants Ernst and Young to evaluate the economic impact of the races, with their report to potentially be available before the end of the year.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter