Council slammed for “heavy handed” camping ban on Tour de France climb

No camping signs, boulders placed to prevent parking

by Simon_MacMichael   June 20, 2014  

The top of Holme Moss (CC licensed image by by shirokazan:Flickr)

A councillor who helped plan the routes of the two Tour de France stages in Yorkshire has hit out at what he sees as a “heavy handed” approach by Kirklees Council to forbid camping on the climb of Holme Moss and place boulders by the roadside to stop people parking vehicles there.

The council has placed yellow ‘No camping’ signs around the top of the climb, which features on Stage 2 of the race from York to Sheffield, as well as putting boulders in place at the roadside, reports the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

But Martyn Bolt, a former mayor of Kirklees and a committee member of the Dave Rayner Fund which supports young cyclists looking to launch a professional career, says that the measures are “draconian.”

He told the newspaper: “I think Kirklees has been very heavy-handed over this. The signs send out completely the wrong message and anyone looking at where to go to watch the Tour may decide to go somewhere else instead.

“Kirklees have had workmen putting down these huge blocks of stone and I hope they have carried out a risk assessment. What they have done is create a potential hazard.

“If a cyclist had a mishap, such as a puncture, they could always veer onto the verge and have a relatively soft landing.

“Now they could hit a nine or 10-inch tall boulder, buckle a wheel and go head over heels over the handlebars. Then you also have to consider people walking and those with mobility problems.”

He added: “These are draconian preventative measures which penalise cyclists more than illegal campers.”

In a statement, a council spokesman said: “People are welcome to bring caravans and motorhomes to the event but we would ask that they follow the spectator guidelines and park only in designated car parks as they cannot be left at the roadside.

“This is to enable the safe running of the race, protect land owned by local people from damage and allow space for the large number of spectators who are expected to line the route at this iconic location.

“Verges between Holmfirth and Holmbridge are not generally wide enough to park a vehicle without obstructing the route and wider verges and the small number of lay-bys are to be used for essential race infrastructure.

“The council is currently in discussion with Yorkshire Water on the use of Holme Moss car park to host race essential infrastructure.

“Other areas on this part of the route are in the control of local landowners and their use and any charges will be at their own discretion.”

In its third and final report on preparations for the Tour published last week, the government-backed company Tour Hub 2014 Limited said it expected 60,000 spectators on the Holme Moss climb, and added that £100,000 had been taken from a contingency fund to ensure their safety.

47 user comments

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Chris James wrote:
oozaveared wrote:
That's what happens when you have bloated public sector with a screwed up sense of priorities. They invent things to do and then moan that they don't have enough money for essentials. If they have spare lorries and spare council workmen with time on their hands and money enough to procure lots of large boulders, then why don't they fix the bloody potholes?

I see on another thread that you live in the New Forest. I live in Kirklees and know the road in question. I also vaguely know Martyn Bolt, who has done loads of good work for cycling in the area.

In my opinion Martyn is wrong on this one. There is no way that camper vans should be allowed up Holme Moss as the verges aren't big enough. There is a massive drainage channel on one side of the road and the other side is a soft verge leading to a drop. The only way a camper van could park up would involve encroaching on the course itself.

Placing stones to try to prevent selfish people ruining the race for others seems a good use of public money for me. And since I am actually a Kirklees council tax payer it is me who is paying!

Also, a lot of money has been spent on resurfacing the local roads, as well as the actual route of the tour. There will always be some potholes as the area is very hilly, populous and suffers harsh winters. I would be very happy if they resurfaced the road through my village, for example!

As regards the 'bloated' public sector, Kirkless had 11,000 workers in 2010. It had laid off 1,100 of them by 2013 and announced plans for another 1,400 redundancies last October. So rather than 'bloated' I think it is more accurate to describe their resources as threadbare.

No I live in Surrey but I am from the New Forest. We have had big bike races in Surrey three or four years on the trot. Pre Olympic test, Olympics, Ride London 100 and TofB. No boulders necessary on any of it. Just signs saying that the road will be closed and not to park or you'll be towed. As far as I know no towing was actually necessary.

And the council must be bloated because they have time enough and people enough and money to engage in this sort of nonsense. But then I guess they've fixed all the potholes and painted all the fences and cut back the bushes in the sight lines at junctions and there's just nothing else that needs doing except the moving of boulders.

Sounds very like 1,100 is not enough and the attitude of the council workers is
"quick....everybody look like they're doing something..what, boulders? Great idea...that'll keep the boys busy for a while. anyone else oh yeah that bunting could be a menace if it gets wet..."

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

posted by oozaveared [745 posts]
20th June 2014 - 14:04

17 Likes

oozaveared wrote:

No I live in Surrey but I am from the New Forest. We have had big bike races in Surrey three or four years on the trot. Pre Olympic test, Olympics, Ride London 100 and TofB. No boulders necessary on any of it.

But you don't know the road in question, unlike me (I've been up it about a dozen times this year) and the local coucil.

oozaveared wrote:
And the council must be bloated because they have time enough and people enough and money to engage in this sort of nonsense. . Sounds very like 1,100 is not enough

So if they put down boulders (that you suspect may be unnecessary, even though you don't know the road in question) then councils are bloated by definition? I think you may be looking to confirm a pre existing bias against the public sector.

As I said in my post the actual job cuts will be 2500 council staff, which may be more to your liking (although what it has to do with you as a Surrey resident I really don't know).

posted by Chris James [214 posts]
20th June 2014 - 14:28

12 Likes

usedtobefaster wrote:
Wouldn't it have been simpler (and less costly) to have closed the road earlier than the current plan and have the police clear the climb of anything that doesn't have permission to be there?

The road is an important trans Pennine route and it is already being closed two days before the actual race!

posted by Chris James [214 posts]
20th June 2014 - 14:30

16 Likes

I do hope many of you moaning twats don't come.

Leodis's picture

posted by Leodis [238 posts]
20th June 2014 - 14:34

20 Likes

andyp wrote:
'And since I am actually a Kirklees council tax payer it is me who is paying!'

Just you?

No, not just me. Although I may be the only person posting on this thread who is paying council tax to Kirklees. I may also be the only person on this thread who is facing the threats to my safety imagined by Martyn Bolt when I descend Holme Moss into Holme. And I am quite happy with the boulders thanks very much.

posted by Chris James [214 posts]
20th June 2014 - 14:36

10 Likes

leguape wrote:
leqin wrote:
tell me - is there any organisation in Yorkshire who wants the Tour De France to visit the county and for the riders taking part to have a great race and for the people watching it to enjoy themselves, only all we seem to have heard for months is about one spoil sport politically correct tosser after another doing everything they can do to make it a complete waste of effort by those who worked so hard bringing the race to Yorkshire.

When you say "worked so hard" do you mean Welcome to Yorkshire who bade without funding, grossly underestimated the cost and then turned to DCMS and local councils to pay in excess of £20m for something they touted as costing about quarter to half of that at best? So inadequate was the planning that the DCMS insisted on parachuting in an entire new company of experienced major event management to keep things on track and manage elements like this.

It's the councils and authorities having to deal with all the logistics of the event and the clean up afterwards when Welcome to Yorkshire are claiming all the glory of what will be - regardless of actual numbers - sold as a massive triumph. Local authorities on the route have every reason to be aggrieved and opposed given how much they've had to stump up resource-wise to make this happen and how little of the reflected glory they'll be getting.

Please don't come, keep your money for your bike humping it up Box ramp.

Leodis's picture

posted by Leodis [238 posts]
20th June 2014 - 14:41

19 Likes

leguape wrote:
When you say "worked so hard" do you mean Welcome to Yorkshire who bade without funding, grossly underestimated the cost and then turned to DCMS and local councils to pay in excess of £20m for something they touted as costing about quarter to half of that at best? So inadequate was the planning that the DCMS insisted on parachuting in an entire new company of experienced major event management to keep things on track and manage elements like this.

It's the councils and authorities having to deal with all the logistics of the event and the clean up afterwards when Welcome to Yorkshire are claiming all the glory of what will be - regardless of actual numbers - sold as a massive triumph. Local authorities on the route have every reason to be aggrieved and opposed given how much they've had to stump up resource-wise to make this happen and how little of the reflected glory they'll be getting.

So a better plan would be to just tell the Tour de France to piss off and take their silly little bike race back to 4kin France because we don't want it and we don't need it and your a bunch of bloody foreigners anyway so we don't give a toss what you think.

posted by leqin [130 posts]
20th June 2014 - 14:49

9 Likes

oozaveared wrote:
Just put up a sign saying you can't park here between these dates .... The threat is enough. It's self financing because you just get the police to issue the order and then have it towed privately if necessary. The fee covers the towing and storage.

They HAVE put up signs, just as you suggested. They have also put a handful of small boulders on the upper hairpin and (by the look of the photos on the Examiner website) one rough piece of ground that could act as a layby. Most of the road up has a ditch on one side and a crash barrier on the other so it would be impossible to park up without blocking one carriageway.

The Pennines is plastered with old gritstone quarries so getting hold of stone costs buttons. It makes more sense to put a few stones down to prevent a problem than try to tow some arsehole off the road who tries to drive up as the race approaches!

I would imagine the fire risk is also a reason for wanting to prevent people trying to camp up. They have only just put out the fire at Hepworth and that was going for about two weeks. The whole area is a tinder box.

posted by Chris James [214 posts]
20th June 2014 - 14:50

11 Likes

Chris James wrote:
oozaveared wrote:

No I live in Surrey but I am from the New Forest. We have had big bike races in Surrey three or four years on the trot. Pre Olympic test, Olympics, Ride London 100 and TofB. No boulders necessary on any of it.

But you don't know the road in question, unlike me (I've been up it about a dozen times this year) and the local coucil.

oozaveared wrote:
And the council must be bloated because they have time enough and people enough and money to engage in this sort of nonsense. . Sounds very like 1,100 is not enough

So if they put down boulders (that you suspect may be unnecessary, even though you don't know the road in question) then councils are bloated by definition? I think you may be looking to confirm a pre existing bias against the public sector.

Well no council needs to be moving large boulders to stop people parking. That's the issue. You may be right, I am certain that you are, that some parking restriction might be useful at certain point. Surrey has loads of them when there is a bike race but without moving boulders about the place. That's the point. It just sounds fishy. Is the local big boulder salesman related to someone or offering reverse manual donations (backhanders to you) to the Highways department.

Maybe people in Yorkshire are just more badly behaved than average and ordinary parking restrictions warning and sanctions as used in the rest of the country just won't work.

To be honest I think it's got to be a kickback from Boulders R'us.

I don't have an animus about the public sector. There's plenty for them to do. If they did it then everyone would be better off. But for some reason they always complain that the everyday stuff can't be done due to lack of resources but there's never any lack of funds in the budget headed "useless idiocy". Not enough money for potholes and proper council business but plenty of spare bodies, lorries and cash for boulder relocation work.

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

posted by oozaveared [745 posts]
20th June 2014 - 14:50

11 Likes

You are, quite simply bonkers. There is no point debating with you and your bizarre boulder conspiracies.

I feel very confident that the Yorkshire stages of the Tour will blow people's socks off.

posted by Chris James [214 posts]
20th June 2014 - 15:01

13 Likes

There are two points on this article that I would like to comment on, viz :
1) Leguape wrote
--------------
"Jobsworths like the French police and gendarmes do every year in France? I watches them doing exactly what you describe as "jobsworth" to riders trying to get up Col de Pailheres last year.
You ever had any dealing with ASO, or local bodies in France? Because let me tell you, they make what you call jobsworth seem like light touch regulation".
------------
That's generally the case with everyday admin, but not the Tour, or most cycling-connected examples.
I rode between Nyons and Aubres-LesPilles (about 9 km ) just before the publicity caravan was due, and well after the road was closed to traffic. No problem, in fact loads of cheers !
2) I agree with those that ask why instead of boulders, they simply stop vehicles going up. If you want to watch it up there, walk or ride up. For camping, give the local economy a boost by paying someone for a pitch. Easy-peasy.

Enjoy

posted by cisgil23 [49 posts]
20th June 2014 - 15:14

10 Likes

When i woke up this morning i have to say i never expected to read the sentence:
"There is no point debating with you and your bizarre boulder conspiracies."

posted by Some Fella [820 posts]
20th June 2014 - 15:33

15 Likes

How do you stop vehicles going up though? The road is going to be open until 6:30 on the day so you could drive up and sling it at the side of the road at any time before that. Have they got a vehicle carrier big enough for a massive Winnebago type affair at the ready?

posted by farrell [1579 posts]
20th June 2014 - 15:40

11 Likes

Some Fella wrote:
When i woke up this morning i have to say i never expected to read the sentence:
"There is no point debating with you and your bizarre boulder conspiracies."

I must admit i quite enjoyed typing it Big Grin

posted by Chris James [214 posts]
20th June 2014 - 15:48

12 Likes

You have a choice, come to Gods County (Yorkshire) and enjoy the festival that is the tour....or don't...and stop winging on about boulders. It's done live with it.
FFS Holme Moss is a tough place without knobs parking cars enroute. There will be 60,000 up the Moss and you want to encourage cars and motor homes to go up there..and mix with cyclists. Great idea. Keep your opinions in Surrey and stay at home

posted by TDF Reject [2 posts]
20th June 2014 - 17:03

11 Likes

TDF Reject wrote:
You have a choice, come to Gods County (Yorkshire) and enjoy the festival that is the tour....or don't...and stop winging on about boulders. It's done live with it.
FFS Holme Moss is a tough place without knobs parking cars enroute. There will be 60,000 up the Moss and you want to encourage cars and motor homes to go up there..and mix with cyclists. Great idea. Keep your opinions in Surrey and stay at home

Ah, the traditional Yorkshire warm welcome.

posted by andyp [1063 posts]
20th June 2014 - 18:08

16 Likes

“Verges between Holmfirth and Holmbridge are not generally wide enough to park a vehicle without obstructing the route and wider verges and the small number of lay-bys are to be used for essential race infrastructure."

The council are correct, as there are no verges between the 2 places they mention, but as Holme Moss is AFTER Holmbridge, then perhaps they need to learn the geography before they speak?

There IS a wide verge on the lower slopes of Holme Moss, adequate for spectators, to watch, and run alongside the race without the danger of the boulders

The local authorities were on board before Government simply allocated the money it had ring fenced for the failed Scottish bid they UK Sport and others were backing

As for fire risk, does that mysteriously vanish when the campers are asked to pay a high price to pitch up in a field

posted by langsett [26 posts]
20th June 2014 - 19:49

8 Likes

In the interests of transparency langsett, aren't you Councillor Bolt?

As far as fires are concerned I don't know where camp sites are located, but the moor near Hepworth was on fire for the best part of two weeks, and there have been some bad fires on Holme Moss itself in the last few years.

posted by Chris James [214 posts]
20th June 2014 - 20:02

8 Likes

I know Yorkshire quite well and it is quite common to see people camping in some unusual spots or parked up in silly places because of the glorious scenery.

I now live in Leicester and some of our sports and recreation areas have big boulders around them because of a certain element deciding to camp on them.

Leicester got their boulders from one of the biggest granite quarries in Europe... Croft... just down the road a few miles.

I saw this story and thought. "They're lining the roadside with boulders in places? I bet they didn't need to transport them far!"

Around there, all they probably needed was a winch!

pakennedy's picture

posted by pakennedy [55 posts]
20th June 2014 - 20:13

7 Likes

langsett wrote:

The local authorities were on board before Government simply allocated the money it had ring fenced for the failed Scottish bid they UK Sport and others were backing

They were on board for an event they were sold as costing nearer £10m, not the £21m it seems to be running to now. And the government money isn't the same UK sport/DCMS pot earmarked for the Scottish bid, because they declined to put in citing lack of planning for stage 3. The government money came direct from Treasury the day after DCMS bounced Yorkshire's request.

http://www.chasingwheels.com - Chasing Wheels, the journal of Britain's least competitive cyclist

posted by leguape [40 posts]
20th June 2014 - 20:25

7 Likes

I saw this article at lunchtime an had an opinion. I have now had my eyes opened by some local input, for I don't know the roads, and my opinion has changed. I do, however, know that European roads are built differently from British roads and do know that there appears to be so much bickering that the enjoyment of the racing is already being sucked out.
If the local authority says close the roads to campers, accept it and deal with it.

posted by don simon [241 posts]
20th June 2014 - 20:28

13 Likes

Chris James wrote:
andyp wrote:
'And since I am actually a Kirklees council tax payer it is me who is paying!'

Just you?

No, not just me. Although I may be the only person posting on this thread who is paying council tax to Kirklees. I may also be the only person on this thread who is facing the threats to my safety imagined by Martyn Bolt when I descend Holme Moss into Holme.

You're very definitely not either.

posted by andyp [1063 posts]
21st June 2014 - 6:55

8 Likes

The thing is, you just know that somebody would try to spoil it by putting a camper on the hairpin bend in question. Road closure should mean pedestrians & cyclists only get up there, which is a good thing. The crowds are going to be huge, its the TdF FFS!! Enjoy it. Cambridge needs to embrace it too. I was in Reeth recently, they seem to be looking forward to it. Smile

Currently going slower than I'd like...

posted by stealth [212 posts]
21st June 2014 - 7:02

10 Likes

Also, re the 'imagined' threat to safety. You're right, large lumps of stone along the side of a descent can in no way be said to be dangerous. I'm sure Fabio Casartelli will be along to add his voice in agreement. Oh, hang on...

posted by andyp [1063 posts]
21st June 2014 - 7:39

10 Likes

I don't know anyone involved, but is this not as simple as Conservative councillor attacks majority Labour council?

I found myself on Holme Moss when Sky recently came through on their recce, quite a few cars were parked up on the middle section of the top part of the climb, causing little trouble. More trouble was what appeared to be a tv crew closing off the car park at the top to do some filming, which meant more cars along the sides of the road

I am planning on riding up on the day itself, and may be confused with a slow moving boulder.

posted by ducknumber1 [38 posts]
21st June 2014 - 9:11

14 Likes

andyp wrote:
Also, re the 'imagined' threat to safety. You're right, large lumps of stone along the side of a descent can in no way be said to be dangerous. I'm sure Fabio Casartelli will be along to add his voice in agreement. Oh, hang on...

If large lumps of stone next to the road are a problem then you might as well not come to Yorkshire. About 50% of the two stages are probably lined with dry stone walls......

posted by Chris James [214 posts]
21st June 2014 - 12:26

7 Likes

I was driving part of the route a couple of days ago and there are signs everywhere saying that your car will be towed if you park it there between the 1st and 6th of July.

The train companies are saying not to bring your bike to the event and the local councils are promising to close the roads from 6:30 AM to 8:00PM on the day of the event.

Obviously they don't want anyone to come and watch the damn thing.

I remember Cornwall in 1999 when they said the whole world was turning up for the total solar eclipse, the county lost millions of pounds because they scared everybody off.

posted by mavisto [13 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 7:27

4 Likes

Chris James wrote:
andyp wrote:
'And since I am actually a Kirklees council tax payer it is me who is paying!'

Just you?

No, not just me. Although I may be the only person posting on this thread who is paying council tax to Kirklees.

I have the dubious honour of paying my local taxes to Kirklees too. My wife is also employed by them. Bloated and blind to priorities (as a different poster suggested) is nowhere near the truth, I can tell you.

As for Holme Moss and its approaches, I am as giddy as a schoolgirl at the prospect of being there on Sunday 6th July. It's going to be fantastic. If fewer motorhomes means more space for people to stand and watch then all the better for it. The council have provided a good deal of useful information so far for visitors and I really hope it's a success for everyone concerned.

Him Up North's picture

posted by Him Up North [237 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 11:59

2 Likes

Cycling IS like a church... Pointless and faintly ridiculous.

posted by Sit at the back... [17 posts]
5th July 2014 - 15:34

0 Likes

Having seen the images and the crowds on the climbs I feel that campers and traffic should be barred from all climbs. Very impressive crowds and a great advert for Le Tour de Yorkshire.

posted by don simon [241 posts]
5th July 2014 - 15:51

0 Likes