Tour-ific legacy of Le Tour in Calderdale

Courier reader Mark Richardson, of Old Town, Hebden Bridge, watched the race near Pecket Well and emailled this shot of the lead rider of the Tour De France
Courier reader Mark Richardson, of Old Town, Hebden Bridge, watched the race near Pecket Well and emailled this shot of the lead rider of the Tour De France

Millions of pounds, hundreds of thousands of visitors and a lasting economic legacy - that’s the impact the Tour de France will have in Calderdale for decades to come.

Estimates for visitor numbers are expected to be smashed, with early suggestions that up to 200,000 people watched the second stage of the world famous event in our district.

And the predicted £3m boost for the local economy on the day could also be much, much more after the incredible success of the cycling spectacular.

Leader of Calderdale Council Tim Swift, said: “Before the race it was estimated that around 160,000 - 180,000 people would be watching the Tour de France in Calderdale.

“Although it’s not possible to confirm the exact amount of people that made up the enormous crowds across Calderdale on race day, we think it’s likely that these figures were exceeded.

“It was wonderful to see so many people lining the streets of Calderdale in what was a fantastic day for the borough.”

Steven Leigh, from the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It was a wonderful event and a great advert for our part of the world.

“As a cycling legacy lots of people from around the world will come and ride those climbs.

“We also hope people will realise there are places to live outside of London where the housing prices are more realistic, we have a great hard-working workforce available who in lots of cases live within 10 minutes of their office.

“Hopefully it will attract inward investment and tourism into our region for many years to come.

“Before the event the expectations were of around 130,000 visitors but if there were nearly 200,000 then that would prove estimates of £3m being brought into the economy were underestimated.”

Judith Wright, from Business for Calderdale, said: “It was the most amazing event.

“In terms of Yorkshire and Calderdale in particular it will have a major impact on the economy because the whole world saw Yorkshire ai its best.

“In terms of tourism it will have a major impact and the knock-on effect of that for businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors will be felt for years to come.

“I think we’ve hit the map in Calderdale.

“There have been a number of initiatives recently that have raised Calderdale’s profile and the Tour de France is the icing on the cake.”

Corinne Kielty, from the Le Tour Ripponden group, says she wants a legacy of cycling from the Grand Depart.

She said: “The Tour de France has been a great event for Ripponden. It has brought the community together in a way that people have never seen before.

“People are still taking about the event and will be for a long, long time afterwards. The first thing anyone asks you is ‘where were you watching the race’?

“We hope to capitalise on this by making Ripponden a destination for cyclo-tourists.

“We are situated in a beautiful valley and with incredible roads for cycling, the increased awareness of Ripponden can only help the local economy if we as a community grasp the opportunity.

“We also want to see more local people getting on their bikes, in particularly children.

“To do this, the Le Tour Ripponden group has a legacy project called the Ryburn Valley Greenway that aims to bring a safe greenway from Sowerby Bridge to Ripponden.

“The public support for this has been overwhelming and if we are successful, it could change the economy of the Ryburn Valley and the health of the residents for the better.”

Sharon Le Corre, from the Le Tour Cragg Vale group, said: “Everyone had a smile on their face and a story to tell. People we knew us said how great the valley looked - especially the bunting.

“It was a fantastic, exhilarating, colourful and above all happy day.

“We probably won’t experience anything like it ever again in the valley but everyone had a great time and embraced the whole experience.”