By Lyndsey Hall
If, like us, you live or work in and around Sheffield, you may have noticed a spate of recent road closures. Many of the roads surrounding our offices in S8 have been closed recently, forcing staff to either arrive before and leave after the slated times, or park elsewhere and continue their daily commute on foot. Several days later, the roads have reopened with nary a pothole in sight, making driving on the roads of South Yorkshire a pure delight, instead of the suspension-busting nightmare it had previously become.
Now, the cynics among you may have noticed a correlation between the timing of said highway improvements and the upcoming Tour de France Grand Départ, and I’m sure you wouldn’t be far wrong. But, cynicism aside, investment in our region can only be a good thing, even if it is just a few tonnes of tarmac. Tourism is an important part of many local communities’ economies, and putting Sheffield’s best foot forward for the cameras this weekend as the cyclists fly through our fair city can only encourage more people to visit in future. Whilst a slalom-esque Tour with cyclists dodging potholes and cracks may be an entertaining prospect, it might not appeal to the cycling enthusiasts among us. And it certainly wouldn’t show Sheffield in a good light!
In addition to the noticeably improved road conditions, the people of South Yorkshire have been tirelessly decorating our region, ready for the influx of visitors that the Tour will bring. I’m sure many of you will have noticed the yellow bicycles dotted around the city, and the reams of yellow bunting strung from tree to tree; building to building. Messages of encouragement have even been spray painted onto the roads that the route will follow by locals. The only thing left to make the weekends’ festivities perfect is the weather!
Business owners of South Yorkshire are clearly hoping that the crowds of people descending on our region this weekend will mean increased foot traffic, increased sales, and hopefully increased profits. Hotels, B&Bs and campsites have already seen an enormous rise in bookings for this weekend, and with the number of attendees expected to be lining the route come Sunday morning, you can almost guarantee that restaurants, cafes and bars will see a giant spike in sales.
Making a good impression could attract new investors into the region; new businesses and young people looking to build a life and a career for themselves in our historic and prestigious city.
On Sunday, our city will be the centre of attention as millions of viewers around the world tune in to watch the Greatest Cycle Race in the World. Let’s hope all the hard work the people of Yorkshire have put in will pay off and business will be booming!
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