Wharfedale’s residents and businesses are being sent letters about what to expect when the Tour de France rolls through their neighbourhood.
Leeds City Council has written to everyone with a home or firm alongside the route of the Grand Depart to advise them on what will happen when “the world’s greatest cycle race” arrives on Saturday, July 5.
The Leeds to Harrogate opening stage of the Tour, the Grand Depart, will see the riders cheered on by spectators in Harewood, Arthington, Pool-in-Wharfedale and Otley before they head off through Ilkley into the Dales.
In his letter, Director of City Development at Leeds, Martin Farrington, says the area will be hosting “an unforgettable occasion” – but also warns that those with “ringside seats” will have to put up with some disruption – including 7am to 3pm road closures.
He writes: “Starting at 11.10am outside Leeds Art Gallery in the city centre, 198 top international cyclists will make their way out of the city along 30km of Leeds’ roads taking in Scott Hall, Chapel Allerton, Moortown, Alwoodley, Harewood, Arthington, Pool-in-Wharfedale and Otley before heading off into the Yorkshire Dales, and ending with a likely sprint finish in Harrogate.
“We want you to remember the Grand Départ for all the right reasons and enjoy the excitement of the event, but we also need to help you plan for the interruption to your normal day.
“The road outside your home will be closed for a minimum period of eight hours to allow preparation of the race route, the handover to the Tour de France organisers, access for the publicity caravan, the race itself, the removal of race infrastructure, and the safe dispersal of spectators.
“This will mean that the road is closed to any form of public vehicle. It is anticipated that road closures will be in place from 7am at the very latest through to 3pm at the earliest.”
He adds that the Tour’s preceding publicity caravan, which sets off from Leeds at 9.10am on the day, will be “a terrific spectacle and a great family attraction” featuring 180 floats and dispensing a host of free caps, badges and other souvenirs.
The letter ends: “We understand and appreciate that the Grand Depart may cause you some challenges but with forward planning please be assured we aim to minimise disruption.”
A similar message has gone out to local companies, that urges them to plan ahead to cope with the disruption but also to “make the most of the opportunity”.
Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: “I am pleased the council is being proactive in letting residents know what is to happen.
“There will obviously be some hiccups but residents should point these out as soon as possible so we can iron them out before the day.”