Congleton could be the starting town for a stage of the 2021 Tour of Britain cycle race this September if government COVID guidelines allow and discussions with the organisers and key partners prove successful.
Congleton Town Councillors discussed the opportunity to host the start of a race day at the public part of its virtual Council meeting last Thursday (11th February). The council agreed in principle to commit £30,000 to host the stage start, and authorised the Chief Officer, David McGifford, to negotiate terms and conditions with race organisers SweetSpot. The proposed terms and conditions will need to be approved by councillors at a future Council meeting before any agreement is signed.
Councillors were flattered that Congleton had been asked to host the start and aware of the positive benefits for the town and the community when Congleton hosted the start of the race in 2016. The Councillors were keen to give the town, residents and businesses the opportunity to experience the lift that comes with being part of a national sporting event, that can be enjoyed by all generations. But they were concerned about uncertainty around what will be allowed under COVID-19 restrictions in September and ensuring that the £30,000 commitment needed to sponsor the event would fully benefit the town.
When Congleton hosted the start in 2016 it was estimated that there were 16,000 people in the town, many businesses reported a significant increase in trade and the general feeling was that it was a fabulous day for Congleton. Subject to COVID-19 restrictions being lifted and other conditions being met, the race day has the potential to draw a large number of visitors and spectators, bringing a much-needed economic boost for town centre businesses and the opportunity to showcase Congleton to a wider UK audience. Before a final decision is made we need to be confident that the £30,000 will be a good investment in our town and that residents and businesses will be able to benefit from the race in a safe and COVID-19 secure way.”