Ilkley residents have been told to expect all-day closure of the main A65 road and severe disruption when the Tour de France cycle race rolls through town this summer.
A sparsely-attended public information session organised in Ilkley by Bradford Council heard the main road could be shut from early in the morning until late in the afternoon on July 5, and roads leading directly onto the A65 are also likely to be closed to traffic.
Blue-light emergency vehicles will be given access to the road, and pedestrians will be able to cross, except when the race itself comes through the town.
The A65 could also be closed from Skipton Road in Ilkley to beyond Addingham the following day, when the next stage of the Grand Depart cuts south through Addingham.
Bradford Council Network Co-ordinator, Darren Badrock, told the meeting, last Thursday, at the King’s Hall, the A65 may be closed from 7am on July 5, and may remain closed until 4pm, or later. He advised residents to treat the day as a “bad snow day”.
“The general message we’re trying to give out, is on the day there will be severe disruption,” said Mr Badrock.
Further disruption on the roads may come later on July 4 or in the early hours of July 5, as cycling fans make a beeline for Ilkley by car, in an attempt to grab a parking space.
Special parking sites are expected to be set up, and Bradford Council is also organising parking spaces for residents.
Mr Badrock said the council would write to all premises affected by road closures, telling residents and businesses what was happening.
Information releases are expected from the council both before and on the day.
The route is expected to be “sterile” hours before the race arrives, and cars left parked on the route could be towed away.
One resident living on the North side of the River Wharfe was unhappy to see the town “cut in two” all day.
He said: “I don’t think it’s a very clever move. From 7am, one side of Ilkley is totally cut off from the shops and restaurants.”
Mr Badrock also spoke of the potential oportunities for Ilkley residents and businesses to make money – from catering for the expected huge influx of visitors to converting a garden or driveway to camping or parking space, subject to legal considerations.