Tour de France: Harrogate town centre plans

Screens will help visitors see the race.
Screens will help visitors see the race.

A zone stretching between Montpellier Hill and beyond the finish line at Hotel du Vin will be designated by event organisers the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO).

Entry to this zone, which will house hospitality, TV crews and the podium as well as the race control team and officials, will be restricted.

However, the opposite side of the road, around the war memorial area, will be a public viewing area, and include two grandstand seating units, responsibility for which lies with Welcome to Yorkshire.

With thousands expected in the town centre across the weekend, screens showing the race and awarding of the first yellow jersey of the 2014 race will be erected both outside Crescent Gardens, opposite the Royal Hall, and on the Stray adjacent to West Park. Crowd numbers are expected to eclipse those who turned out to watch Andy Murray win Wimbledon on a large screen on Montpellier Hill in July 2013.

The Men’s Singles final of Wimbledon is scheduled for July 6, and organisers are discussing the possibility of it being shown on the screens.

The Harrogate Advertiser series understands that the World Cup quarter-final scheduled for Saturday, July 5 will not be shown, however.

These screens are in addition to those planned at the designated spectator hubs in Starbeck, Knaresborough, Ripon and Masham.

John McGivern – Harrogate Borough Council’s senior sports development officer and event planner for the Tour, said: “We are working with Harrogate International Festivals to look at how to utilise the space at Crescent Gardens.

“We want to create the family atmosphere with entertainment and a screen.”

However, it is possible further screens will be erected in the district. The organisers of the UK stages of the 2014 Tour, TdFHUB2014, will decide by April where its spectator hubs will be.

Nigel Avison, director of Development Services said: “HUB is sorting out between ten and 12 spectator hubs itself.”

“Every one of those organised by the HUB will have a capacity of 500,000 people.”

Resurfacing and crowd control

The final 2km stretch of Stage One stretches between New Park roundabout to the finish line outside Hotel du Vin on West Park.

The responsibility for roads lies with North Yorkshire County Council. However, Harrogate Borough Council’s Head of Culture Tourism and Sports and Tour Project Lead was able to reveal what is planned for the vital stretch, coverage of which is likely to be viewed by a worldwide television audience of millions.

She said: “The road will be resurfaced from New Park to the Prince of Wales roundabouts. There will be barriers on either side of the road, and all of street furniture will be taken out.

“NYCC will be moving the islands, bollards and traffic lights - anything that might obstruct the riders.

“However, this does not include Skipton Road, as many people believe to be the case.”

Once the road has been resurfaced, the street furniture will be removed, and replaced with rubber items, bolted into place.

These rubber items will be removed for the race and put back up once it has left, and replaced in time with permanent items.