YORK council chiefs are in talks about the costs of staging the Tour De France Grand Depart, amid reports that the bill is soaring above budget.

The cost of marshalling and managing the 2014 race in Yorkshire is said to have been underestimated by more than £2 million.

An internal report at Leeds City Council, which is overseeing the Yorkshire leg of the tour, said the contract for “event production,' including arrangements for traffic management, stewards, toilets, barriers, medical support and signage, is worth almost £4.5 million - £2.3 million more than originally budgeted for.

The report said the original estimate did not take account of the requirement to transport resources around the region and, due to the distances involved and the rural locations involved, the rates had significantly increased.

The shortfall is said to have left bosses scraping around to plug the shortfall just over three months before the event starts.

City of York Council is one of 11 partner councils to Leeds for the event in July, with an agreed budget of £1.6 million to contribute towards the costs.

Sally Burns, Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods, said yesterday that Leeds City Council was leading the central procurement on behalf of the local authorities involved in the delivery of the Tour de France.

"Discussions are on-going as to how the costs of the procured activities are to be allocated amongst partners and each council will need to make decisions, based on agreed budgets," she said.

"This process is still underway and therefore it is premature to comment further.”

The Tour de France Hub, the company set up to coordinate planning for the Grand Depart, said details outlined in the report represented a 'maximum level of prudent over-planning to ensure resources and infrastructure for the Tour de France are available, should they be needed to cater for all eventualities.'

A spokesman said there was no expectation such resources would need to be used in full in normal circumstances.