SKIPTON could be one of the host towns of next year’s Tour de Yorkshire cycle race - costing Craven taxpayers a possible £180,000.

After an initial recommendation by its policy committee earlier this year to go ahead and support a bid to organisers, Welcome to Yorkshire to be a host town in 2020, Craven District Council decided in May to delay a final decision, fearing that the brand had been ‘tarnished’ following controversy surrounding the resignation of its chief executive, Sir Gary Verity, and any possible ‘reputational damage’ to the authority.

But at last week’s full meeting of the council, councillors voted to go ahead with the bid - by just two votes and with many raising concerns about the possible cost to the council.

If successful, the cycling race could follow a route through the Yorkshire Three Peaks, Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, showcasing the landscape to the world.

Councillor Richard Foster, leader of the council, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire has become a global event and the opportunity for Skipton and Craven to capitalise on its success is too good to pass up.

“We want to use this to promote the area not just as a great place to visit and cycle through, but also as a place to set up a business and bring your family to live.”

The Yorkshire Dales National Park has already committed an allocation of up to £50,000 from its Opportunities Fund, as a potential contribution towards the start of the race in Skipton, and with the proviso that the route would take in a large part of the national park.

Other potential sponsors and partners are being sought to minimise the direct cost to the council, but the council has agreed to set aside £180,000 from its New Homes Bonus localism reserve, in order to underwrite the total costs associated with the event.

Should the council’s application for Skipton to be a host location be successful, a further report will be put before the Policy Committee setting out in more detail the anticipated costs and likely council contribution.

The 2020 Tour de Yorkshire will be held over four days, and is due to take place from April 30 to May 3.