Cambridge Tour de France road closures a "nightmare" says councillor

Bus transport into city centre restricted, plus regional road closures of up to 24 hours

by Elliot Johnston   May 1, 2014  

Cambridge (CC licensed by mariosp)

Disruptions to Cambridge’s transport system for the visit of the Tour de France have been announced this week, but have been dubbed a “nightmare” by one unhappy councillor.

This week Cambridge Council announced that no buses will be able to access the city centre on the July 7 race day, adding to the disruption that will be caused by the road closures that were announced in March.

Calling the planned inner-city transport disruption a “nightmare”, councillor Charlie Nightingale told Cambridge News: “I welcome the Tour, but I can’t understand why the roads need to be closed for this long period of time.”

The roads in the vicinity of the Parker’s Piece start line are set to be closed from from 5.30pm on July 6, the day before the race. Some roads will reopen at 3pm, once the race has left the city, but others are expected to stay shut until 6pm. This means some roads will be closed for up to 24 hours.

As well as extensive road closures, the council have announced that the city’s buses will also have no access to the city centre.

Buses coming from the south are set to terminate at the train station, while buses from the north will be halting their service at one of three locations: Caids Causeway, Mitcham’s Corner or Queen’s Road.

Businesses on the route will be affected too. Scotsdales Garden Centre in Great Shelford, four miles south of Cambridge, will be forced to close on the day of the race as staff won’t be able to get to work early enough. This is predicted to cost the business around £50,000.

Travel disruptions are not only set to affect commuters, businesses and tourists, but also schools and hospitals.

Some schools have preempted possible disruption by announcing plans to close on July 7, while Addenbrooke’s Hospital plans to step down its activity on the race day, focusing its efforts on emergency operations only and moving routine procedures to the weekend before.

The council’s transport director, Graham Hughes, emphasised that the road closures were necessary: “We completely understand that some residents and businesses may feel that the race will cause them problems. However, the road closures have to put in early to allow the Tour organisers to prepare the route.

"With such a large scale event, residents, businesses and visitors are being given advanced notification to help get ready, plan and enjoy a unique day in Cambridge’s history.”

While the council’s early warnings about the road closures may not be the most inspirational way of helping the city’s residents to enjoy the Tour de France’s visit, one member of Cambridge Council has called for flexible working on July 7 to help workers enjoy the day.

In November, Councillor Ian Manning wrote on his website: “This is a unique opportunity for the people of Cambridgeshire and it would be a real shame if they were to miss out on witnessing this historic event when flexible working could allow them to attend.

“I hope the county council and other businesses across Cambridgeshire will find ways to allow their staff to enjoy the event and be part of history in the making.”

48 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

mattsccm wrote:
The contributors here have done well today.
As narrow a minded bunch as I have ever seen.
I'll be watching 2 days in Yorkshire but many people won't and it will screw things for a lots of people. Its totally wrong to slag off those who object. It is wrong to say that the locality benefits. Some of it will, indeed some of it will have a windfall but some will suffer. They have every right to complain, indeed they should be compensated as should anyone else who looses out through some one else's recreation.
It amazes me that many here only see one point of view.

So does that mean that businesses which benefit should have to pay a levy or is it just private losses that are socialized but private windfalls remain in private hands.

Decisions are made all the time that affect potential income for businesses. Parking restrictions, parking charges, loading restrictions, new bus routes, roadworks, town bypasses, planning permission, out of town retail parks. All these decisions are permanent. They are not compensated for.

There is also a good deal of doubt in this case whether sales are permanently lost or merely displaced.

And that's without getting into the fact that a business in a town benefits enormously from being in that town from the town's infrastructure and from the destination that other businesses collectively provide and which they all benefit from. It is rather hubristic for a business to bemoan that a town or city which provides it with a thriving living the entire year takes a day off off from filling its coffers.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [745 posts]
1st May 2014 - 15:27

23 Likes

Businesses that benefit do pay a levy. Corporation tax at 20% on any profit. OK, goes to central government, not local, but since local government is 70% centrally funded it makes little difference.

posted by racyrich [152 posts]
1st May 2014 - 15:46

9 Likes

Dont blame the tour, blame the govt they wanted a stage to end in London so its tough, you just have to live with it.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2847 posts]
1st May 2014 - 15:49

13 Likes

Bollocks, I was going down to the stage by bus and hoping to stock up on bedding plants at the same time!

That's my plans ruined

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [682 posts]
1st May 2014 - 15:55

26 Likes

Fine let them moan at le Tour,

I'd like to complain about how Leeds is
Full of gormless people wandering around slowly holding me up.
Gummed up every other week when some people kick a bit of leather around.
Gummed up when 100s of thousand of drug addled music hippies cover the whole place in mud as they leave a trail of devestation after a so called music festival every bloody Aug bank holiday.
The fact the roads in Leeds are regulary closed for so called fun runs, what's the fun in running, bah humbug.
Oh and not forgetting the distruption cause by the bloody torch the other year. I mean to close the road so that someone can carry a fag lighter, come one!

And don't get me started on the distruption to my cycling caused by the various pony club meetings, country fairs and the Great Yorkshire Show at Harrogate, mud, mud and animal dung all over the place. Might as well take up mountain biking again. I stopped that because the forest always seemed to have some nutters driving cars as fast as they could into trees.

I'd also like to complain about the distruption caused by buses always stopping in front of me and refuse trucks. Someone really should do something about all the red lights that disrupt my journeys and get rid of other road users. Closed roads for me to cycle on is the way to go. No-one in sight, peace and quiet.

Hve I missed anyone out? Live and let live I say! Laughing

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [344 posts]
1st May 2014 - 15:57

32 Likes

I suspect he reads The Daily Mail and votes UKIP.

Miserable f*cker.

posted by Joelsim [1452 posts]
1st May 2014 - 16:08

15 Likes

There'll be somebody unhappy about any large event wherever it's staged. I accept they have a right to be unhappy, but I'd like to think that as a society we like to have the odd big event, and that will always mean that someone somewhere is going to have to suck it up.

posted by Chuck [435 posts]
1st May 2014 - 16:14

17 Likes

Maybe they could hold a flower show on some cycle paths the week after, in the interests of balance........

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
1st May 2014 - 16:24

15 Likes

Can't imagine what a business with a large car park and access to loads of (garden) furniture might do when a sporting event passes by........

posted by Jimbonic [111 posts]
1st May 2014 - 19:04

13 Likes

Chuck wrote:
There'll be somebody unhappy about any large event wherever it's staged. I accept they have a right to be unhappy, but I'd like to think that as a society we like to have the odd big event, and that will always mean that someone somewhere is going to have to suck it up.

http://road.cc/content/news/114656-sheffield-cyclists-protest-cycle-lane...

Rolling On The Floor

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
1st May 2014 - 19:43

10 Likes

Scotsdales turns over £14M a year... http://www.hortweek.com/Retail/article/1158292/retail-outlet-3m-turnover... My similarly seasonal and weekend-biased shop turns over roughly a tenth of that (selling bikes) and we reckon shutting on a Monday in summer for stock take costs us about £1K of revenue which won't just come a different day. So £10K would be a much more reasonable maximum estimate of revenue lost for this outlet. Some labour cost will be saved but many fixed costs still incurred so the effect on the bottom line will be perhaps a couple of grand, very roughly.

Of course, a venue that popular, with a cafe, extensive parking, community rooms etc. just might be able to think of some ways to capitalise on the vastly increased numbers of people in the area?

posted by Malaconotus [48 posts]
1st May 2014 - 19:44

17 Likes

Malaconotus wrote:
Scotsdales turns over £14M a year... http://www.hortweek.com/Retail/article/1158292/retail-outlet-3m-turnover... My similarly seasonal and weekend-biased shop turns over roughly a tenth of that (selling bikes) and we reckon shutting on a Monday in summer for stock take costs us about £1K of revenue which won't just come a different day. So £10K would be a much more reasonable maximum estimate of revenue lost for this outlet. Some labour cost will be saved but many fixed costs still incurred so the effect on the bottom line will be perhaps a couple of grand, very roughly.

Of course, a venue that popular, with a cafe, extensive parking, community rooms etc. just might be able to think of some ways to capitalise on the vastly increased numbers of people in the area?

As an aside - if a stocktake costs you a grand, can't you do it at another time? Or offer a couple of employees (if you have them) a hundred notes each to do a night shift and save £800. I've worked for a couple of specialist retailers (cycle and motorcycle) and neither boss would have willingly waved goodbye to a thousand quid

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
1st May 2014 - 19:54

12 Likes

Yet every year this happens in towns in France all over the country and they look like they love it!

posted by Nzlucas [111 posts]
1st May 2014 - 20:07

18 Likes

It happens in Paris every year and as I can talk from experience of being there on numerous occasions and talking to the locals.....they love it !

This is just the usual of the Brits loving having a moan

posted by chiv30 [879 posts]
1st May 2014 - 20:37

7 Likes

I think in France the towns pay an awful lot of money to get the tour to come to them.
We just moan cos we can't drive our cars about as usual.

posted by Hensteeth [53 posts]
1st May 2014 - 21:32

10 Likes

I love football, but the amount of public harm that 'fans' routinely commit in town centres and on public transport every weekend - that goes completely unreported, and costs the state a fortune in policing, healthcare etc - stands in stark contrast to this (non-) story.

Where cycling is concerned you can always find a hard-right crank to condemn anything to do with it. Pride marches and parades used to (and sometimes still do) have to deal with similar attitudes (although of course pro-cycling easily out-camps any LGBT pride activities).

Mind you, there were always a few bores in the village I grew up in who would moan about the annual road closure for the school gala or the Christmas carol singing. Best bet is to just ignore/pity these people and get on with enjoying something rare and extraordinary.

Ghedebrav's picture

posted by Ghedebrav [1103 posts]
1st May 2014 - 23:10

17 Likes

Surely this just goes to show that you will always, without fail, find somebody who will complain about something. It doesn't mean they're right or wrong - it's just human nature. I'm sure there are things that people on here would complain about too.

It feels like a classic 'media taking one comment to blow something out of proportion on a slow news day' issue. "Regional road closures of up to 24 hours" suggests most of Cambridgeshire will be closed, whereas what's meant is that some but not all roads near the start line will be closed for 24 hours.

Is someone after a job at the Daily Mail/Express?

posted by teaboy [187 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 7:30

11 Likes

So a road closure for a day is a 'nightmare'.
I am sure that the victims of the various tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes etc that completely devastate their lives will no doubt have great sympathy for the people of Cambridge who are inconvenienced for a whole 24 hours.

Perhaps we could gather together a bunch of d-list celebs and hold some kind of fundraising event to help the impoverished of Cambridge get back on their feet after such monumental devastation?

posted by JeevesBath [131 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 7:54

14 Likes

allez neg wrote:
As an aside - if a stocktake costs you a grand, can't you do it at another time? Or offer a couple of employees (if you have them) a hundred notes each to do a night shift and save £800. I've worked for a couple of specialist retailers (cycle and motorcycle) and neither boss would have willingly waved goodbye to a thousand quid

An excellent question! It's a long-established worker's cooperative so not that simple but, yes, it is changing and we won't be closed for stocktakes once a couple of new processes are in.

Of course, a lot of bike shops are shut every Sunday and/or one weekday every week. We are open 358 days a year.

posted by Malaconotus [48 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 8:23

8 Likes

Joelsim wrote:
I suspect he reads The Daily Mail and votes UKIP.

Miserable f*cker.

I have it on good authority that he reads the Guardian and votes Green. His objection is based on the fact that professional cylists are merely the peddaling poodles of a capitalist hegemony and that the whole spectacle is merely a distraction from the real economic issues facing the proletariat. That cycling is indeed the EPO of the people.

Oh OK I don't know the fellah and was just making it up.

What's he like really?

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [745 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 8:32

13 Likes

allez neg wrote:
Chuck wrote:
There'll be somebody unhappy about any large event wherever it's staged. I accept they have a right to be unhappy, but I'd like to think that as a society we like to have the odd big event, and that will always mean that someone somewhere is going to have to suck it up.

http://road.cc/content/news/114656-sheffield-cyclists-protest-cycle-lane...

Rolling On The Floor

Ha! Not sure if that proves my point or not... Still, I think that's slightly different.

posted by Chuck [435 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 8:37

8 Likes

mattsccm wrote:
They have every right to complain, indeed they should be compensated as should anyone else who looses out through some one else's recreation.

Why? I live near a football ground, and have to deal with the traffic that brings upwards of 30 times a year. Should I, and everyone else in my neighbourhood, get compensation?

It's entirely likely that more people will turn out to watch the race go by than would go to said garden centre on that day, so what makes the garden centre's wants more important?

It's one day of the year. Unless they're suggesting that every single person who would have gone there on that Monday would only have ever gone there on that day, the number bandied the money they would 'lose' is nonsense (and is certainly nowhere near £50k).

posted by dp24 [195 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 8:56

14 Likes

I'm looking forward to the stage passing the place where I work, I expected that the center of Cambridge would be 'down' for a good chunk of time, but even I was surprised by the timing of the road closures that cover the semi-busy route south of Cambridge. http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/info/20020/cycling/470/tour_de_france_2.... There are a bunch of businesses on that route that won't be accessible from 7am onwards, so effectively most probably have to close for the day, and you can't expect them to be happy about that. (unlike me!)

I'm a cyclist, I'm aware of the tour caravan that precedes the race and the way the race takes over places in France, but explaining to someone who isn't aware of this history/significance that the roads are closed from 7am for a race that will zip past in seconds more than five hours later is a toughie

posted by 3cylinder [70 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 10:38

10 Likes

@3cylinder, good post.

Why can so many of 'us' cyclists not understand locals being upset about disruption to business, trade, travel and access?

To simply brand them 'NIMBY's' is uncompromising and shows complete lack of empathy or understanding of another view.

Sure, I'd be delighted if it went past my house or work, but I completely understand people not being happy with extensive and lengthy closures throughout a busy weekday.we can't all take the day off to watch it!

posted by 700c [587 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 11:05

10 Likes

'Why? I live near a football ground, and have to deal with the traffic that brings upwards of 30 times a year. Should I, and everyone else in my neighbourhood, get compensation?'

Presumably you had some kind of say in where you lived?

posted by andyp [1077 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 12:21

5 Likes

is it a nighmare when a city closes its roads all day for a marathon?

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 12:39

11 Likes

well said.
its a bit like a seaside tourist attraction town.
you know the summer is coming,the roads will get busy, the car parks full, and the beach - well you cant see the sand for the people!
so some locals decide to go away for holidays etc elsewhere, and avoid the town centre like the plague. they have lots of warning.
so, anyone who doesnt want to watch the cycling can go away for th weekend, or stay in for a day. or WALK / CYCLE to their destination.....

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 12:43

10 Likes

'its a bit like a seaside tourist attraction town.'

Nothing of the sort. You live near a beach or a football ground, you expect tourists/ pissed-up neanderthals on a regular basis.
You live in/near Cambridge, you expect students cycling like prats, and expensive train journeys to London, but not road closures for sporting events. Sure, people who don't want to watch the event can make other plans, and yes, it's their 'fault' if they don't. But they still have an absolute right to be pissed off about it.

posted by andyp [1077 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 13:13

10 Likes

JeevesBath wrote:
So a road closure for a day is a 'nightmare'.
I am sure that the victims of the various tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes etc that completely devastate their lives will no doubt have great sympathy for the people of Cambridge who are inconvenienced for a whole 24 hours.

Perhaps we could gather together a bunch of d-list celebs and hold some kind of fundraising event to help the impoverished of Cambridge get back on their feet after such monumental devastation?

Reminds me of below from 2008

Disaster in Barnsley

An Appeal for Your Help

A major earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale hit in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Epicentre: Barnsley, England.

News of the disaster was swiftly carried abroad by the town's 35,000 racing pigeons, as victims were seen wandering around aimlessly muttering 'fookinhell' and 'choffin-norah'.

The earthquake decimated the town, causing £30 worth of damage. Several priceless collections of mementos from the Balearic Isles and the Spanish Costa's were damaged beyond repair. Three areas of historical burnt out Cars were disturbed.

Many locals were woken up well before their Giro arrived. Radio Barnsley reported that hundreds of residents were confused and bewildered, still trying to come to terms with the fact that something interesting had happened in Barnsley.

One resident, 15 year old mother of 3, Tracy Sharon Braithwaite said: 'It was such a shock, my little Chardonnay-Madonna came running into my bedroom crying. The twins, Tyler-Morgan and Megan-Storm slept through it all. I was still shaking when I was watching Jeremy Kyle the next morning'.

Locals were determined not to be bowed, as looting, muggings and car crime carried on as normal.

So far, whilst the British Red Cross has managed to ship 4000 crates of Sunny Delight to the area to relieve the suffering of stricken locals, rescue workers searching through the rubble have found large quantities of personal belongings including, benefit books, and bone china from Pound-stretcher.

How you can help

Please respond generously to our appeal for food and clothing for the victims of this disaster.

Clothing is needed most of all, especially:

· Fila or Burberry baseball caps

· Kappa tracksuit tops (his or hers)

· Shell suits (female)

· White sports socks

· Rockport boots

Culturally sensitive food parcels are harder to put together, but your efforts will make a difference.

Microwave meals, tinned baked beans, ice-cream and cans of Colt 45 or Special Brew are ideal.

*Please do not give anything that requires peeling.*

*Remember*:

· 22p buys a biro for filling in compensation claims

· £2 buys chips, crisps and a blue fizzy drink for a family of 9

· £5 will pay for a packet of B&H and a lighter to calm a child's nerves

Urgently required: Tinned whippet food. Bones for Jack Russells

Please do not send tents for shelter. The sight of such posh housing will cause discontent in the surrounding South Yorkshire communities

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [344 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 14:49

7 Likes

andyp wrote:

Presumably you had some kind of say in where you lived?

Yes, I did - although said football stadium has been expanded since I started living here. But then, unlike the suggestion of the poster I quoted, I don't want compensation, because I accept that the things that people do for recreation have to go somewhere.

posted by dp24 [195 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 13:58

5 Likes