Etape route comes under scrutiny

Published date: 08 April 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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PUBLIC concerns about a cycling event which last year saw some roads closed for up to 10 hours are to be discussed.

The 88-mile Etape Cymru event, which starts and finishes in Bangor-on-Dee, takes participants over closed roads through Wrexham county and into Denbighshire.

But after last year’s event, which saw a 57 per cent increase in participants from 2012, Wrexham Council was made aware of difficulties experienced by residents and businesses along the route because of road closures.

Now the matter will be discussed at a meeting of Wrexham Council’s homes, environment and communities scrutiny committee tomorrow.

A Wrexham council report said: “While it is recognised that these types of events provide positive benefits to the region both in terms of inward economic investment and social well-being, they can have a negative impact on local communities directly affected by the event.

“In acknowledgment of the concerns raised, the event organisers have worked with officers from both Wrexham and Denbighshire on additional measures to address as far as practicable the negative impacts on those communities affected by the event.”

Among the measures taken to minimise disruptions are changes to the route.

Previous races have seen participants cycling on the same route outwards and back, meaning lengthy closures.

But the proposed route for the 2014 event utilises alternative routes in and out of Wrexham, limiting the amount of time roads need to be closed.

In addition to those residents and businesses on the event route, the scope of the consultation will be extended to include people located off the route who could still be affected by closures or diversions.

The 2013 event saw a total of 2,007 entrants, 80 per cent of whom travelled from outside the region, with more than 90 per cent of that figure booking paid accommodation in the region.

The economic benefit of last year’s event was estimated to be in the region of £400,000. As well as economic benefits, the event also generated more than 260 items of national media coverage, reaching a total audience of 16.2 million people.

Last year’s event was marred by tacks scattered on parts of the course which caused punctures to race bikes and a safety motorcycle.

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