Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Mixed blessings of Le Tour

Just like the race itself, the local community saw winners, losers and even injuries!

There is no doubting that, for the visitors and spectators, Le Tour weekend was a successful.  The goodwill of the crowd cheering on the riders as they sped past was clear for all to see.  For a few brief hours, parts of Yorkshire were in the gaze of millions of people and we certainly seemed to impress.

But what about the local businesses and others wanting to go about their day to day lives?

Many cafes and B&Bs have reported record takings for the weekend; although this is tempered by the fact that they only had so much capacity and it is a busy time of year anyway.  Many of them have said that takings were not significantly more than normal.  On the other hand, many establishments off the main route have said they were quieter than normal – their regulars had gone away to avoid the mayhem!

Local businesses saw disruption from the Friday before the race with parking and traffic restrictions.  My own business was only given ONE parking permit for the Friday for 12 members of staff!  Our cleaning staff couldn’t get in at the weekend because of the restrictions and we faced traffic delays for several days.

Low paid carers going about their normal routine visits often faced detours of over 25 miles to get to see vulnerable people reliant on their services.  Several have told me that they got paid no more and their day was several hours longer because of the disruptions.

And what do we have to show for the weekend other than some rather tired looking bunting and a few yellow painted bicycles that are still littering the route?  Hopefully, people will have seen enough of God’s Own County to entice them to visit us over the next few years.  But unlike the Olympics, and despite the millions spent on the weekend, there is no tangible legacy, no permanent facilities left behind. 

Whether you are a winner or a loser following Le Tour, it was a spectacular weekend showing Yorkshire at its best!