Harlow Council defends spending over £200,000 on hosting two cycle races

News / Sun 30th Jul 2023 at 10:42am

THE COST of bringing two cycle races to Harlow is set to cost over £200,00 reveals a Freedom of Information (FOI) Request.

The Tour of Britain will be coming to Harlow on Friday September 8th. The equivalent women’s tour came last year.

The FOI asked Harlow Council

Please could I know what the cost of holding the woman’s cycling race in Harlow last year was and also what the cost of holding the men’s cycling race this year. Please include fees for hosting, road closures hospitality and any other costs involved?


Last year the cost of hosting the women’s cycling race in Harlow was £103,732.60.

This year the cost of hosting the men’s Tour of Britain race will be £126,000. 

We duly asked the leader of Harlow Council, if he would care to defend spend close to half a million pounds on two cycle races.

Councillor Dan Swords, Leader of the Council, said:

“I am proud that the council has secured one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world in the form of the Men’s Tour of Britain. This is truly historic for Harlow and there are huge benefits to Harlow for hosting such a prestigious world leading event, following the town hosting the successful women’s tour cycle race last year.

“The Women’s Tour was a fantastic day, which created many great memories for schoolchildren, spectators, local cycling fans, organisations and the riders, and it showed to the world that Harlow can successfully host sporting events.

“We are one of several areas across the country fortunate enough to secure the Tour of Britain event. We have utilised existing resources to secure this event for our town and £126,000 is an investment in the promotion of the town to a UK and worldwide audience. We are working with local businesses and organisations to secure sponsorship to reduce some of this cost.

“The Harlow stage of last year’s Women’s Tour was a £800,000 boost to the local economy and the TV viewing figures were 251,000 views on ITV4 with a further 215,000 views on Eurosport. In 2022 Tour of Britain race venues (start or finish) received an average £1.575m boost to the local economy. Each stage of the race averaged 324,000 viewers of the live coverage on ITV4 in the UK and 247,000 for the highlights on the same channel and the race was shown globally with a worldwide audience of around 2m outside of the UK.

“Hosting such an event should be something this town can be proud of. With the town’s rich cycling history from its extensive cycle track network to the John Collins cycle collection at the museum it makes Harlow the ideal location to host the Tour of Britain. It will be free to watch and will feature the world’s best riders from Olympic, world and Tour de France champions helping to inspire local people to get on a bike and cycle more. The event will bring people into the town, promote Harlow as a place to visit and positively expose the town to a UK and worldwide audience on TV and online, and there is a huge economical value for both Harlow and the local economy as well.

“It is more than just hosting the end of a race it is also a community celebration. We are working to ensure that this year’s event is once again enjoyed by local children who are invited to both line the route and ride the route before the race enters the town. As well as a school zone there will be a community zone open from 12noon to 4pm where local organisations will be invited to take part and raise awareness of their work. The event will also be good for businesses with many local businesses and organisations engaged and employed to support the event.

“This will be a day for every young person in Harlow to remember and will boost our local economy. That is why the council has invested in this.

“Just like last year’s Women’s Tour there will be some local road closures in place for the safety of all. Diversions will be in place on the day and access to residential areas maintained. We are writing directly to all residents affected and we hope as many people and organisations as possible can get involved and enjoy seeing this event coming to the town.”

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26 Comments for Harlow Council defends spending over £200,000 on hosting two cycle races:

2023-07-30 10:49:53

There is no defence to this, utterly appalling. £800 K boost the local economy, that is not viable it was a few days at most, if those figures are true then show the working. What is happening here is the council throwing out large numbers to try and impress people.

2023-07-30 11:14:01

What a complete waste of public taxes.

2023-07-30 11:41:03

The usual waste money on the non-essentials. Let's wait to see how long it is until HC claim "we have no funds" when it comes to the essentials. Shall I invite members of HC round for a cuppa to discuss it?

2023-07-30 12:28:33

The town is in complete disarray, for those of us who do work and pay our council tax , we will be following diversions to try and get to work to pay for something the bulk of the town have zero interest in .

2023-07-30 14:25:52

Seems that local authorities like Councils are on the wrong tack here. All need to refuse permission for such events so that organisers have to pay the Council (us) for costs and community development out of the vast sums they receive from sponsors and TV broadcasters.

2023-07-30 15:47:00

Extensive cycle track network. Dan Swords have you seen the state of our extensive cyle track network? I really think that all these councillors are deliberately winding us long term Harlow residents up.They are a joke,they cannot even sort the bloody pavements,cycle tracks and roads out,oh yes and we now know why all the pretty wild flowers are appearing across Harlow. Unbelievable.

Guy Flegman
2023-07-30 15:57:15

Show me the money

Nogin the nog
2023-07-30 16:19:08

I to think the money could be spent on better things especially the cycle tracks some of them are in a poor state

2023-07-30 17:21:14

Not that I have any interest in it whatsoever. But whoever posted this has got the date wrong. The 6th of September is on a Tuesday, whereas the 2 Friday's either side are the 1st and 8th of September.

Kim Oconnor
2023-07-30 18:26:45

Carnt believe this, have you seen the state of our cycle tracks. That money could of been spent up grading them. Dan swords I suggest you have a cycle round Harlow, and see for your self's. Is this why all the wild flowers have,appeared. This money could be put to better use, , and I speak as a life long cyclists. Ludicrous.

Raymond Curtis
2023-07-30 19:10:45

My understanding was that Essex County Council resurfaced some of the roads on the Tour de France route through the county. Perhaps a similar improvement around Harlow, assuming there’s still time.

Craig Messenger
2023-07-30 20:11:51

Baffled how comments quote spending half a million when its just half that. Revenue this will bring in, along with TV coverage is huge, one of the if not top cycling events in Great Britain

2023-07-30 20:24:39

Since when does £103.7 k + £126 = £500k? Somebody needs to go back to Primary school. These are great, high profile events. Just check how much Harlow Labour wasted on consultants for projects that never materialised - £ 1.2 million on Lister House and others!!! These events put Harlow on the map for investment and visitors.

2023-07-31 05:22:34

They mean cyclecrack network.

2023-07-31 07:28:05

Criag: who gets the revenue??? Not Harlow!

Kim Oconnor
2023-07-31 08:29:47

Barry, what Revenue is coming to Harlow.?

Alderman Durcan
2023-07-31 10:59:28

Same old Tory tactics appearing from certain individuals aka Barry… If you can’t justify the truth just deflect with Tory lies. Whilst in principle this is an ok idea,using so much money during a cost of living crisis appears stupid. They claim Harlow will receive rich rewards for holding this event The truth is none of these rewards will come directly back to Harlow residence. This will go to private companies only. We will however get some pot holes filled in as otherwise this will be an obstacle race,so some good news. Just another Tory PR stunt to deflect and avoid the truth.

Think outside the box
2023-07-31 11:13:36

I think its great. £200K investment and all the roads repaired in Harlow? Fantastic!!!

2023-07-31 12:08:51

Alderman Durcan they will not even come back to companies, there is no benefit for holding these minor events. It si all manipulation and lies as to the return the reality is it will have determintal effect as it impacts people moving about the town or going to work etc. Just ask the publicans etc about the London bike ride that cuases chaos and slashes customers that weekend

Nicholas Taylor
2023-07-31 12:58:14

Puts into perspective the Councils proposal last week to hold elections only every 4 years to save £100K. This is something of a minor sport in this country, the fact is there are more people listening to the cricket on BBC radio today, let alone those watching it on a sports channel than watched the cycling event last year. This money would have been better spent on giving every child in Harlow the opportunity to take part in a sport or cultural experience of their choice for free, as a stepping stone for them to join a club and hopefully stop them wandering the streets causing trouble.

2023-07-31 16:08:41

So who, exactly, received this mythical "£800,000"? And who gave it to them? Was it made selling ice creams? local businesses selling cycling merch to the hordes of fans who flocked to the town (I must have missed them somehow)? It's more of the old Tory "Look over here at this shiny thing" whilst everything falls apart. Nero fiddled, but Tories don;t even try that hard.

2023-07-31 18:01:27

Councillor Swords' claims, like his beloved Boris Johnson's, need to be taken with a very large pinch of salt.

Paul Harrison
2023-07-31 19:47:03

This is ludicrous .... Surely the promoters should be paying all costs incurred for such events ... and regarding ' the town’s rich cycling history' reminds me that we once had a cycling velodrome, sighted on Edinburgh Way. Pearsons, (formerly Longmans, and now private apartments), paid Harlow Council handsomely, to re-sight the track, but it never happened and the money is rumoured to have vaporised allegedly.

Toby le Rone
2023-07-31 21:04:34

The cycle tracks are full of broken glass & dog crap. Tear them up & widen the roads. As for the 200k, unlike the Tour De France where 1000's turn out to watch it, there will be a handdfull of spectators in ...... Harlow. Utter waste of money & what does 200k actually pay for ? Cones ??

Ian McNaught
2023-08-01 09:47:43

I agree with Paul Harrison. Harlow did have a great cycling history mainly due to the fact that most people used a bicycle to get to work, but that was a long time ago. The old cycling velodrome was never replaced as my old friend Norman Goodchild informed me when it all happened . Dispite the promises it was never rebuilt , the money just disappeared . It could have been spent on our cycle tracks upkeep, but that is just another dream.

Old man
2023-08-01 09:49:46

I agree with Paul Harrison. Harlow did have a great cycling history mainly due to the fact that most people used a bicycle to get to work, but that was a long time ago. The old cycling velodrome was never replaced as my old friend Norman Goodchild informed me when it all happened . Dispite the promises it was never rebuilt , the money just disappeared . It could have been spent on our cycle tracks upkeep, but that is just another dream.

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