For some Harrogate businesses it could be a commercial goldmine but, after the Harrogate Advertiser highlighted the fears of one Cold Bath Road-based business which said it would be closing for the whole nine days of September’s UCI Road World Championships, other town independents shared their concerns on social media.
Harrogate and District Chamber of Commerce said that it was vital that everyone was well informed in advance about when all of the road closures would be taking place during this major cycling event.
That is precisely what the event’s organisers Yorkshire 2019 are currently attempting to do with the release of the new ‘Yorkshire Welcomes the World’ Residents’ Guide which will be handed out to 40,000 people around the town.
Harrogate and District Chamber of Commerce also said it was important to have a marketing campaign to encourage visitors to go to areas like Cold Bath Road when races weren’t on.
It had heard that some Harrogate businesses were already planning to change their opening times during the UCI cycling championships to attract evening footfall.
Even when roads are open, businesses near the route may be affected by the massive crowds.
Regular customers may also change their usual routines.
One idea being floated is that Harrogate goes ‘continental’ with shops closing during parts of the day effected most by cycling before reopening afterwards, perhaps, in the evening.
Steve Scarre, president of Harrogate and District Chamber of Commerce, said: “I have been pushing the retailers to be flexible on their hours of business during UCI for some weeks now and have written to council leader Richard Cooper and BID leader John Fox suggesting that.
“We are not saying that they hadn’t thought of it already, but we need to motivate the retailers into thinking differently and I am very much pushing for that.”