The Councils Cabinet and, later, scrutiny committee will be debating the final report on last years Tour De France event when they meet next week.
Tour De France launch dinner in Ripon Cathedral
The report rightly highlights the positive benefits which the event produced. Not least among these were the 200,000 spectators in the City and the international publicity which the City received as well as an estimated £8 million injected into the local economy.
The latter figure is estimated and does not seek to relate benefits to the £1.8 million that the taxpayer paid for the event.
That was the largest amount that the York Council has spent on a single leisure event.
To put it into context, a similar number of people visited the City for the “Royal Ascot at York” event held in 2005. That event cost taxpayers less than 10% of the TdF costs (with most costs relating to traffic management).
The reports are weakest in the areas which caused some local residents concern.
A much hyped claim was that merchandising, car parking and camping sales would produce a “profit” to off set costs. That simply didn’t happen.
Sparse crowd for Grand Departy
Many decisions such as the location of the event “hubs” were delayed before being imposed on unwilling neighbourhoods.
Some failures – post start entertainment and big screen blackouts – could have been avoided with better planning.
But the conspiracy of silence about the £180,000 Grand Departy decision making process remains the most significant outstanding issue. Only a passing reference is made to this event in the reports.
Hopefully the Scrutiny Committee meeting on Wednesday will finally insist on answers being given to the outstanding questions about the Grand Departy. When we know the answers, a more informed decision can be made about the level of public subsidy – if any – which should be given to the proposed “Tour de Yorkshire” (TdY).
Ironically that event is scheduled to hit the City on a busy bank holiday only 3 days before the Council elections are scheduled to take place.
York residents deserve to know all the facts before Council discussions are veiled by the start of the local election “purdah” period.