PLANNED repairs to roads in North Yorkshire could be delayed because of the arrival of the Tour de France in the region.
Organisers of the famed cycling race – one of the largest and most-watched sporting events in the world – confirmed last week that the opening days of the Tour, the Grand Depart, will be staged in Yorkshire in July 2014.
Leeds will be the host city, but the route – exact details of which have yet to be confirmed – will pass through York, Scarborough and the North York Moors. North Yorkshire County Council’s executive has now agreed to enter into a contract with tourism agency Welcome To Yorkshire, which led the county’s bid, confirming the authority’s “commitment to hosting the finish of stage one” of the 2014 Tour.
A report by David Bowe, corporate director of business and environmental services, said although the Grand Depart would be a major economic boost for the region, there were “clear financial implications” for the council, including how preparations for the Tour will affect its highway maintenance programme next year.
“There could be a requirement for highway improvement works along the route within North Yorkshire, predominantly to mitigate the risk of injury to the competitors,” it said.
“It is understood [Tour organisers] the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) will provide details of any works they require, which could include measures such as resurfacing roads and removal of street furniture. The programme for 2013/14 could therefore need to be reprofiled to enable the required works to be completed prior to the event.
“This would clearly have an impact on the overall programme, meaning planned maintenance schemes elsewhere would be delayed.”
Mr Bowe’s report said postponing other necessary road repairs could lead to routes deteriorating further and cost the council more in the long run. It said the “exact financial implications” of the Tour would not be confirmed until technical contract documents are provided from Welcome To Yorkshire.
The tourism body must have deals in place with all councils on the Grand Depart route before entering into a formal contract with ASO. Welcome To Yorkshire has said the 2014 event could surpass the £73 million London gained by staging the 2007 Grand Depart, with up to £1.8 million expected to be spent on accommodation, as much as £12.2 million per stage forecast to be spent on retail, food and catering, and about £15 million worth of publicity tipped to be generated through media coverage.