COUNCILLORS in Calderdale are ready to splash out £160,000 – if the Tour de France comes to the district.
Race organisers will decide in January if a stage of the world famous cycle race is heading for Yorkshire in 2014.
Two routes are being proposed, Leeds to Scarborough and York to Sheffield.
If the latter is chosen the route could include Calderdale and that would trigger spending of up to £160,000.
At a time of austerity – and amid cuts to council budgets – Calderdale’s Cabinet agreed to find the £160,000 if the tour passes through the district.
Clr Pauline Nash, Calderdale’s Cabinet member for communities, told this week’s Cabinet meeting that the Tour provided a big potential opportunity for the district.
She said that funding was needed to enable Calderdale to make the most of it.
The council agreed to allocate £160,000 but only spend it if the Tour came to Calderdale.
She told the Halifax Town Hall meeting: “The economic impact assessment sees a financial return on the outlay as £3m.
“It could also bring 160,000 additional visitors to Calderdale and we could expect a 15%-30% increase in the visitor economy.
“It could leave a strong, lasting legacy.”
Yorkshire’s bid for the so-called Grand Depart – the start of the Tour – is being led by tourism group Welcome to Yorkshire.
It is estimated that the Tour could be worth £300m to the county as a whole.
Calderdale and Kirklees councils have joined forces with the three other West Yorkshire authorities to push Yorkshire’s case.
Yorkshire is also up against another British bid centred on Scotland.
Council leader Tim Swift said the profile of the Tour de France – and cycling generally – had never been higher because of Bradley Wiggins’ victory in the race this year and medal success at the last two Olympics.
He added: “There is no decision about the route and this £160,000 is a maximum we would put in if the route includes Calderdale.
“We have made strong representations about why Calderdale is the right place.”
Clr Nash said that it was tragic that keen cyclist and Brighouse community activist Trevor Lever would not be around to see the Tour in Calderdale.
Mr Lever, 70, deputy chairman of Bailiff Bridge Community Centre, died while out cycling with a group of others in Godley Lane, Stump Cross, two weeks ago.
“He would have loved it when the Tour de France comes to Calderdale,” added Clr Nash.
A Kirklees spokesman told the Examiner no money had been allocated but the authority was “lobbying hard.”
He added: “Kirklees is well placed because we have the iconic Holme Moss cycling route.
“Our focus is also on the legacy in terms of healthier lifestyles.”