£68k cost of York's Olympic welcome
ALMOST £68,000 of public money was spent on welcoming the Olympic torch and Paralympic lantern to York.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show City of York Council paid £39,120 for barriers, road signs, fences and the trackway for the torch and lantern-bearers when the sporting symbols passed through the city this summer.
The authority also spent £8,861 on staffing, stewarding and security and £7,000 to hire facilities at York Racecourse for the culmination of the torch relay on June 19, which saw 23,412 people attend a celebration concert.
A further 55,000 people are estimated to have lined the torch route, with the council saying at the time that city-centre footfall on that day was 25 per cent higher than normal.
The £67,934 bill for both events includes £3,862 for entertainment and other “special activities”, £2,807 on advertising and publicity and £3,024 on first aid, but just £260 was spent on artists’ and performers’ fees.
Sponsors donated £1,600 towards the trackway costs and tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire made a £200 contribution towards staging the York events.
In its response to the FOI request, the council said parking for the finale of the torch relay was provided free at the racecourse and residents and visitors were unable to use St George’s Field car park that day due to the need to accommodate vehicles from LOCOG, the Olympic and Paralympic organising committee.
This meant parking income for the day of the torch event did not rise, and an agreement with LOCOG also “precluded the selling of any advertising space”.
“The benefit to the local community was a programme of schools, community and voluntary sports club activities, two fantastic community events, increases in sports club membership – including a huge rise in disabled sports activity – and two days when the city really buzzed,” said the response.
The council said it did not hold information about the policing costs for the two events. The Press reported last month that North Yorkshire Police could face a £215,000 overtime bill this year, with the cost of providing officers to patrol the torch and lantern processions and the Games themselves contributing to this.
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