£10m funding boost for county’s Le Tour welcomed by Wharfedale MP

Chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity, right, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, left, and British ambassador to France Sir Peter Ricketts pose during the presentation of the start of the 2014 Tour de France

Chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity, right, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, left, and British ambassador to France Sir Peter Ricketts pose during the presentation of the start of the 2014 Tour de France

First published in Local news Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A Wharfedale MP has welcomed £10 million of Government funding to help stage the Tour de France, as a meeting is planned in Ilkley to help local businesses make the most of next year’s event.

There were widespread celebrations in January when it was confirmed that the cycling event's Grand Depart would take place in Yorkshire – passing through Harewood, Pool-in-Wharfedale, Otley and Ilkley.

But concerns have since been raised about the multi-million pound expense of hosting Le Tour, especially after the Government turned down an initial request for financial assistance.

The U-turn came about after a delegation of MPs met Culture Secretary Maria Miller to ask her to reconsider.

Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West), who worked with the Back Le Bid team and other MPs to promote Yorkshire for the Grand Depart, said: "I am delighted the Government has now committed £10 million in financial support for the 2014 Grand Depart.

"It is hugely exciting for everyone in the area that Yorkshire will play host to three stages of one of the largest sporting events in the world, it will be a huge boost to the local economy as well as cycling.

"With this extra funding I am certain the Grand Depart in Leeds and Yorkshire will be a huge success, and I will be continuing to do everything I can to support the organisers as co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the 2014 Yorkshire and UK Tour de France."

The build-up to the Tour De France begins next month, when more details of the once-in-a-lifetime event will be revealed to people and businesses living along the route.

Local businesses, community groups and councils are being asked to start preparing for how they will make the most of the area’s high profile. Tourism group Welcome to Yorkshire is holding a number of roadshows across the county. The events will let businesses know what they can do to make the most of next June’s event.

It will also reveal more detailed plans for the 100-day cultural festival that will precede the race, and encourage towns and villages to think about how they could tie their annual summer events in with it.

Coun Susan Hinchliffe, portfolio holder for tourism at Bradford Council, said: “We know from other places where the Tour has passed through, that the economic benefits can be significant. These workshops are a good opportunity for businesses and other local organisations to start to understand the opportunities and to be ready to make the most of them in 2014.”

The Ilkley meeting is at The Craiglands Hotel on May 8 between 10am and noon, and a Skipton meeting is at the Rendezvous Hotel on May 9 from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.

To register, visit Yorkshire.com

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