Leeds gets ready for Le Tour as road closures announced

Leeds gets ready for Le Tour as road closures announced

Home » Road racing

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Lucinda Yeadon has called on the city to “get ready and plan ahead for an amazing day” as the first road closure information for the Tour de France was released today.

Leeds City Council has written to all residents and businesses in properties on or directly impacted by the route with initial information about how they will be affected and can prepare for Saturday 5 July when the Grand Départ of the world’s largest annual sporting event begins in the city.

The council has also today launched a new area of its website at www.leeds.gov.uk/granddepartleeds which will be dedicated to all Tour-related information for Leeds between now and the race, with residents encouraged to sign up to granddepartleeds@leeds.gov.uk to receive the latest email alerts.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said:

“The Tour de France Grand Départ is going to be amazing for Leeds and Yorkshire, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host one of the world’s greatest events bringing with it unprecedented benefits on a truly global scale.

“We have now started the process of giving people the information they need which we recognise is vitally important in order for them to make the most of this historic day. Our message is very much ‘get ready, plan ahead and enjoy it’ and the key to that is to get the information spread far and wide so I urge everyone to sign up for the email alerts at granddepartleeds@leeds.gov.uk and look at the new Tour de France pages on the council website to keep updated.”

The information released today reveals roads on and connected to the route in Leeds are anticipated to be closed for a minimum period of eight hours, with most expected to close by 7am and not reopen before 3pm, although selected roads in the city centre will close earlier. This length of time is needed to allow the route to be prepared, infrastructure to be put in place and removed afterwards, the Tour’s publicity ‘caravan’ of vehicles to begin its journey through the stage, the race itself and the safe dispersal of spectators.

The route will need to be clear of all public vehicles prior to the road closure time, with pedestrian access available while the roads are closed through stewarded crossing points.

Vehicle access to the city centre will be significantly restricted with for the most part movement only for public transport and some car parking facilities. Through movement will not be permitted and very limited access from the Inner Ring Road (A58m section) will be available.

A revised bus timetable will be in operation, along with a park and ride service, with full details for spectators and those wishing to access the city centre to be made available nearer to the event.

Extensive multi-agency discussions have gone into the preparations across the route, with emergency services and health and social care providers putting plans in place to maintain essential services and support for those who need it. Emergency access for ‘blue light’ services will be kept open at all times.

All of the city’s MPs, councillors and parish and town councils are being given the latest information, while workshops are to take place with city centre businesses and engagement will continue with the wider business community in Leeds.

The route of stage one of the 2014 Tour de France will see the world’s best cyclists start on The Headrow at 11:10am on Saturday 5 July heading to Eastgate before turning left onto Regent Street and following the A61 Scott Hall Road and Harrogate Road through Moortown and Alwoodley and on to Harewood.

Turning left at Harewood, the race enters the Harewood Estate passing the historic Harewood House before leaving the estate and turning left onto the A659, following Otley Road and Arthington Lane through Pool in Wharfedale and on to Otley.

The route then follows the A65 through Ilkley and Skipton, before turning north and heading through the Yorkshire Dales. The final element of the stage sees the route return south passing through Ripon before the finish in Harrogate.

The start in Leeds is preceded two hours earlier by the Tour de France ‘caravan’, which is a procession of approximately 180 vehicles giving out a range of memorabilia and publicity material to the crowds at the roadside along the stage.

The route through Leeds is expected to include dedicated spectator hubs at Scott Hall Playing Fields, the Harewood Estate and Otley. At these hubs spectators will be able to watch the race as well as enjoy a range of family entertainment, with the numbers expected at the hubs helping to ease pressure on other parts of the route. Plans are also currently being finalised as to locations at the start and on the route for dedicated viewing spots for spectators with disabilities.

The opening three stages of the 2014 Tour de France in England are expected to attract several million spectators to watch the race, bringing in more than £100million to the economy while also being seen by a television audience in the billions across the world.

Councillor Yeadon added:

“Hosting such a massive event takes a phenomenal amount of planning with the reality being that it does involve interrupting the normal routine of the city. Every effort has been and continues to be made to not only ensure the race is a success but also to minimise as much as possible the impact on residents and businesses.

“Everyone in the city can help us to achieve that, by spreading the word to family, friends and colleagues. The day the Tour de France starts in Leeds is sure to go down as one of the most memorable in the history of the city and we want everyone to start planning now how they can make the absolute most of it.”

An update will be given direct to all residents and businesses on or next to the route in the run-up to July, with all the latest information for Leeds able to be seen at www.leeds.gov.uk/granddepartleeds