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Last minute Tour de France worries

Le Caravan on Cote de Chateauneuf-Grasse Cat 3 climb above Nice on Stage 5 of the 2013 Tour de France.  3 July 2013. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Le Caravan on Cote de Chateauneuf-Grasse Cat 3 climb above Nice on Stage 5 of the 2013 Tour de France. 3 July 2013. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Last minute worries about the upcoming Tour de France were raised at a council meeting last week - after businesses complained they would be unable to open.

Brian Dunsby, chief executive of the Harrogate Chamber of Trade told North Yorkshire County Council’s Harrogate Area Committee meeting that several business will shut on the weekend of July 5 and 6, because the Tour de France road closures will prevent staff getting to work.

He said: “There is no solution to public transport problems for staff.”

Jeremy Saffer from Harpers Jewellery on Montpellier Street has said he will not be opening on the Saturday the Tour de France passes just metres from his shop.

He said: “I just cannot see how we can open, I can’t get into Harrogate, and if I could where would I park? I can’t walk all the way from the showground to Montpellier.”

He added: “It has been a bit of a farce, the only people who are going to do well out of this is the hoteliers, even some restaurants and cafes won’t be able to get their staff in.

“I think lots of shops will be shut, I don’t think everyone realises how difficult it will be to open yet.”

David Bowe, North Yorkshire County Council’s director of business and environmental services said: “Business will have to adapt to the plans that are in place. Many people are going to the extreme of having staff sleeping on the premises.

“The biggest thing some businesses will have to judge is how much perishable goods their business will need, they are asking themselves do I order for 300 or 6,000. We can’t tell them that.”

Coun Margaret-Ann de Courcey-Bayley (Lib Dem, Harrogate Starbeck) said: “When I have been out and about in Bilton there are concerns from residents that they are going to be locked in their houses.”

Mr Bowe said that letters would be sent to houses in the ‘land-locked’ areas of Harrogate soon and said they will be cut off for vehicle access for around 15 hours, unless it is a blue light emergency.

James Malcolm, highways area manager at North Yorkshire County Council said that some schools will close on Friday July 4.

Coun Jean Butterfield (Con, Harrogate Central) told the committee that people need to make the most of the event.

She said: “This is not a day for shopping for new underwear from M&S. The food and drink businesses will do very well out of this. Yes there will be some people who won’t be able to get out but it is just one day. It is one day of your life.”

 

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