Council hails benefits to region as £3.6m cost of ‘Tour de Yorkshire’ plan revealed

Fireworks light up the sky above Leeds Town Hall in celebration of the Yorkshire Grand Depart for the Tour de France 2014.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Fireworks light up the sky above Leeds Town Hall in celebration of the Yorkshire Grand Depart for the Tour de France 2014. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
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HOSTING the start of the Tour de France is set to cost Leeds City Council around £3.6m, the Yorkshire Post has learned.

Council leaders have stressed the spending on the ‘Grand Depart’ in July next year will help bring major economic benefits to the region, estimated at around £100m.

The first detailed figures on the costs facing the council show around £1.1m will go on spending on roads.

Venue costs run to £70,000, £63,000 will be spent on hospitality and £165,000 has been earmarked for event management.

The council is expecting the festival linked to the Grand Depart will cost £97,000 while “cleansing” will require £12,000.

Other costs, such as IT and communications and the council’s share of the hosting fee paid to organiser ASO, are expected to add up to £2m.

The figures represent Leeds City Council’s share of the bill with the overall cost thought to be in the region of £10m.

Council leader Keith Wakefield said: “Hosting the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France is in my view the biggest sporting coup Yorkshire has ever achieved. The eyes of the world will be firmly on the city and the region next July, offering profile-raising and promotional opportunities for the county on an unprecedented scale. 

“In such testing current financial conditions, all businesses and industries are having to look at innovative new ways to generate revenue and this is a great example of a bold idea paying off through commitment and teamwork from all parties involved.”

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised the Government is looking at ways it could help meet the cost after Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity discussed the event with the Cabinet this week.

The Leeds City Council figures were calculated before the precise route of the cycle race was announced last month and they are likely to change over the coming months.

Taxpayers Alliance chief executive Matthew Sinclair said: “This must not become an excuse for council staff and quangocrats to run up huge bills at taxpayers’ expense as has happened at so many similar events before.”