Councillors consider residents’ Etape fears


Shane Brennan

THE ETAPE Cymru bicycle race is set to return to Denbighshire this autumn.

This follows a review of the race by the cabinet of Denbighshire County Council, who looked at changes to the route to cause less disruption to people who live along the route of the race.

The cabinet voted unanimously to allow the race to go ahead on the county’s roads.

The event has led to complaints in the past that it causes too much disruption to the lives of residents on the day of the race.

Many roads are closed on the day the race is held, meaning some people are unable to get out of their homes for the day.

Llangollen county councillor Rhys Hughes, said: “The race is great economically for the area, but it also can cause a lot of problems for people on the route.
“These problems get worse where the race loops back on itself.

“If the race passes your house once you could be stuck there for a couple of hours, but if it passes the same house twice then you could be stuck in the house for about seven hours.”

The 100-mile ride starts and finishes in Bangor-on-Dee and goes up the Horseshoe Pass, along the lower slopes of the Clwydian Hills and back down the Dee Valley.

It is estimated that with most of the riders coming from outside the region, last year’s race brought in about £500,000.

The event has been marred, however, when nails and tacks were strewn on the road in a couple of locations, causing several punctures.

Members of Denbighshire’s cabinet met yesterday to consider changes to the route for this year’s Etape on September 14 to relieve pressure in and around the villages of Llandegla, Bryneglwys and Graigfechan, enabling residents to have alternative routes out of their homes.

The organisers have promised to notify all those likely to be affected and to appoint a part-time local engagement officer to promote the event and liaise with the communities.

Denbigshire’s lead member on tourism, Cllr Huw Jones, was satisfied that the changes made would lead to less inconvenience for people.

Cllr Jones said: “It is very exciting that the race is coming back as it is very good for Denbighshire but there are details to be addressed and hopefully these can be addressed better this year.

“We will be clearer in telling people what they can do on the day rather than what they can’t do.”

The event will now be considered by Wrexham County Borough Council.

A meeting will be held at Coleg Llysfasi for a focus group of representatives of villages affected.

This is not a public meeting.

See full story in the Free Press

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