Update – Traders have declined an offer to hold Epping Market in Cottis Lane Car Park when the Tour de France comes to the District on 7 July 2014.
Tour de France market day offer
Epping Market looks set to go ahead when the Tour de France comes to Epping on 7 July. There were fears that the thousands of spectators in Epping High Street would make it impossible for the market to go ahead. Epping Town Council had been left with no choice but to cancel the regular High Street event. Now, an offer has been made by Epping Forest District Council to provide an alternative venue at Cottis Lane Car Park.
The announcement came at the meeting of Epping Town Council on Tuesday 25 March where Epping Forest District Council’s Emergency Planning Officer, Peter Charman was giving an update on the latest Tour related developments. The District Council has been working with many partners behind the scenes to ensure market traders don’t lose out. Following news that St John’s School would be able to provide additional parking facilities, senior district councillors agreed that Epping Forest District Council can put the Cottis Lane car park at the disposal of Epping Town Council for the market.
Epping Market has a charter going back to medieval times. The deal to use Cottis Lane as a one-off is still subject to detailed discussions but Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council is confident the market can now go ahead.
He said: “Overall, the arrival of the Tour de France in Epping Forest is one of the biggest boosts to the economy we could wish for. It will be a bonanza for High Street shops as thousands of extra visitors arrive early for the Epping Show on Sunday and take up their positions for the sprint on Monday. The problem has always been what to do with the market. It was clear that for health and safety reasons there wasn’t enough room for the anticipated 20,000 spectators and the market in the High Street. Cottis Lane Car Park behind Marks and Spencer’s is only a few seconds walk from the High Street and should make an excellent temporary location for the day.”
Councillor Whitbread continued: “I agreed the principle with Cabinet Portfolio Holder Councillor Gary Waller and we will now be talking through the details with Epping Town Council.”
The next edition of the District Council magazine, The Forester due out in April, will provide local residents and businesses with more information about the arrival of the Tour. The message to all residents and businesses from the Council is to plan ahead. The Tour enters the District from Chelmsford and will follow country lanes past Willingale, Fyfield and Moreton before crossing the A414 at the Talbot roundabout. The route north of the Talbot will be closed to all other traffic from 8am.
After crossing the A414, the racers will continue through North Weald. The District Council is developing plans to handle many of the expected spectators by opening up North Weald Airfield as a ‘Park and Walk’ facility after persuading the organisers to keep access between the M11 and the airfield open. Limited caravan and campervan facilities will also be available to allow people to stay overnight at the airfield. Additional temporary campsites and car parks are being planned by a number of farmers to cater for visitors along the route.
The route south of the A414 will be closed to all traffic from 9am in another concession by the organisers to Epping Forest District Council. From North Weald, the racers will sprint down Epping High Street, race to the Wake Arms roundabout and then follow the A104 Epping New Road all the way past Loughton and Buckhurst Hill before leaving the District. The Stage finishes on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace.
Councillor Whitbread said: “It is going to be an incredible day. The Tour is one of the World’s greatest sporting events and it is entirely free to watch. There will be a carnival atmosphere unlike anything we have seen since the Olympics. It certainly won’t be business as usual, but by getting into the spirit of the occasion and making plans now, I am confident it will be a terrific boost to the District.”
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