‘Tour will leave a legacy for our gem of a town’

And they're off: This year's Tour de Yorkshire is set to pass through Pontefract on Friday, May 3.
And they're off: This year's Tour de Yorkshire is set to pass through Pontefract on Friday, May 3.

Preparations are underway to decorate Pontefract for the Tour de Yorkshire, which arrives in the town next month.

Shops and businesses on Southgate and Wakefield Road will be lined with decorations for the races on May 3. They will include bunting, plastic bikes plus T-shirts and banners made in school competitions.

Local artist, Michael Hirst, has also been commissioned by Wakefield Council to create a piece of land art on the junction of Southgate and North Baileygate.

The design will resemble a bike, but on closer inspection it will actually be a lock and key, celebrating the castle’s history as the ‘Key to the North’.

The sprint stage of the women’s and men’s races will come into Pontefract from Pontefract Road, Purston Jaglin and end at The Barracks, Wakefield Road.

Paul Cartwright, chairman of the Pontefract Civic Society, has urged people in Yorkshire to get behind the event.

He said: “As well as watching the races, there will be a larger craft market and we hope for good weather so people can wander round the Valley Gardens, which are a real gem.

“It’s not just about the race coming through on the day, it’s much more than that. It’s about the legacy that it leaves behind.

“If people can’t make it on the day, we hope they will see Pontefract on the TV coverage and want to visit, whether it’s supporting the shops and local business or visiting the castle.”

Paul gave special mention to Tracked Spider Solutions and Barkers Fencing for helping to build and erect displays and to Wakefield District Housing who are actively involved in the preparations.

Stage one of the women’s race is expected to enter Notton at around 9.25am and leave Castleford at around 10am.

The second stage of the men’s race is expected to enter Notton at around 3pm and leave Castleford at around 3.30pm.

Rolling road closures will come into effect around 15 minutes before the races pass through and are likely to last up to 45 minutes.

The exit slip roads on Junction 32 of the M62 are also expected to close from around 9.40am until 10.25am, and then from 3.45pm until 4pm.

The council have advised residents to plan their day in advance and avoid visiting Pontefract Crematorium between 11am and 1pm to avoid additional traffic and road closures.