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Councillors want to know total bill for hosting Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014
OPPOSITION councillors want city leaders to reveal how much they expect York to pay for its role in next year’s Tour de France.
The city will host the start of the second day of Le Grand Depart – the first stages of the world-famous cycle race – next July, which could be worth tens of millions of pounds to its economy.
City of York Council has agreed to pay a £500,000 “hosting fee”, but the Liberal Democrat group said there were still unanswered questions about other costs.
They said Leeds City Council had revealed it expected to pay about £3.6 million to host Le Grand Depart’s first day, including costs for venues, event management, roads, cleaning and hospitality.
Coun Nigel Ayre, Lib Dem leisure and culture spokesman, has asked the council’s chief executive, Kersten England, and its leader, Coun James Alexander, for the full projected cost.
He said: “This is not about whether hosting the Tour is a good or bad thing, it is about being open with the public.
“One would expect York’s figure to be broadly similar to Leeds, but so far the Labour cabinet have not revealed anything beyond the initial hosting fee.
“Leeds clearly have a budget for the event and residents would expect York to have a similar business case with projected costs and income.
“Either Labour do not have one, or they do but are keeping it secret.”
Coun Ayre said the Lib Dems were seeking guarantees money for any Tour-related roadworks will not be diverted from general road maintenance budgets, and wanted to know whether York businesses will contribute towards Tour costs as they would “benefit financially”.
Ms England said Leeds had a budget estimate for their section of Le Grand Depart as the “lead authority” for the Tour’s Yorkshire stages, and other councils will be able to refine their costs when more technical details about each venue and route emerge.
She said the council expected to add to the road maintenance budget where necessary to “meet specifications” for the Tour, although any work already planned for roads on the finalised route will be paid for through existing budgets.
Coun Alexander said: “The suggestion businesses should contribute towards the costs of hosting the Tour is interesting and worthy of debate, and I am inviting Coun Ayre to present and discuss the Liberal Democrats’ business tax proposals at a future meeting of city-centre businesses and retailers.”