THE Tour de France’s route through York will be confirmed next month with talks about setting up “spectator hubs” being held with York Racecourse and one of the city’s shopping centres.
York will host the start of the second day of Le Grand Départ, the Tour’s opening stages, on July 6 next year, and City of York Council says the event is expected to draw in 180,000 extra visitors.
City leaders are being asked to approve £873,000 of additional funding for the race, on top of £500,000 already paid as a regional contribution to the race.
The overall cost to York of hosting the Tour and legacy initiatives will be £1.664 million, of which the Government will provide £291,000.
The Grand Départ’s finalised route will be announced on October 23, and a report by the council’s Grand Départ lead officer Gill Cooper and regional legacy programme director Graham Titchener, which will go before the authority’s Labour cabinet next week, said discussions are taking place with the Racecourse and York Designer Outlet to create dedicated spectator centres.
York’s Tour costs include £200,000 for highways work, although race organisers ASO – whose representatives and technical teams will visit the city in early October to finalise the route and other arrangements – must still confirm exactly how much work is required. This has meant officials are currently working on assumptions and the bill could be higher.
Coun Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “While this will be a huge boost to the city’s leisure and tourism industries, it is also a complex and challenging event to deliver.
“It is now less than a year away and our focus is on ensuring we have the necessary investment to be able to maximise the benefits to the city.”
Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, said the Tour was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to raise the regional profile of cycling and there was a “collective commitment” among areas hosting the Grand Départ to provide a cycling legacy.
However, Conservative group leader Coun Ian Gillies said: “While fully supportive of the Tour, the council is not in a position to offer an open cheque book, and we will ensure all expenditure is fully scrutinised and justified.”