YEP Says, December 23: Tour de Yorkshire will further boost Leeds’s standing

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...and street light debate is a non-starter

AFTER a year that will be remembered for the “grandest Grand Départ” in the Tour de France’s history, the race is now under way to retain Yorkshire’s status as the country’s cycling capital.

Next May’s inaugural Tour de Yorkshire will certainly help to maintain the momentum which was generated back in July, with Leeds once again set to take centre stage.

Many regions have been striving for years for the right to host a race of this prestige – but the fact it’s happening here is testament to the strength of the relationship which now exists between Welcome to Yorkshire, British Cycling and France’s Amaury Sport Organisation that organises such events.

Ever the optimist and opportunist, tourism supremo Gary Verity has managed to secure the dates of May 1-3 for the race – with Bank Holiday Monday free for spectators to explore the delights of God’s own county. This is precisely the type of planning that led to the Grand Départ exceeding all expectations and creating history.

Then there is the fact that Team Sky and their rivals will be able to field eight riders, increasing the likelihood of the world’s best riders returning to the region and city. It heightens hopes that next year will see the momentum that was built this year raised yet another notch and that Leeds will further raise its burgeoning profile both at home and abroad.

Street light debate is a non-starter

THERE can be no doubting the need to save money wherever possible in light of reduced council budgets.

As such, switching off street lights in places that don’t need them has to be seen as a sensible move.

But while Labour has made a big play of this cost-saving measure, it has been going on in Leeds for some time without a great deal of fuss.

Here, there are many residential areas where the lights remain on for the simple reason that turning them off could compromise public safety.

Furthermore, some would argue that it was Labour’s mismanagement of the economy that forced the cuts which have created the need for this very measure.