Call for county debate on Velo South road closures
On Friday county counillors will consider a motion on whether to cancel or modify road closures for Velo South.
The controversial cycling event will see 100 miles of road closures in a loop to and from Goodwood on September 23, a source of considerable concern to residents within the loop.
County councillor Kate O’Kelly, who submitted the motion, said she had attended a meeting with event organisers CSM Active at County Hall, at which the company confirmed it hoped to make Velo an annual event but did not plan to compensating any businesses for any loss of trade on the day.
She said: “I am all in favour of cycling events, but not on closed roads, some are closed for up to nine hours.
“The road closures will have a significant impact on residents and businesses on and near the route.
“I am asking WSCC to think again and negotiate with the organisers to either cancel the road closures or failing that to reduce them to a minimum, perhaps just rolling closures for the fast cyclists at the beginning of the day.”
In response to concerns from residents, a Velo Engagement Meeting has been organised by county council leader Louise Goldsmith on Thursday (July 26).
All town and parish councils affected by Velo South have been asked to nominate four individuals to attend the meeting with county council and Velo South representatives at the Leconfield Hall in Petworth to discuss how to mitigate various issues.
The meeting ‘is not being organised as a public meeting’ and the restricted invite is due to the capacity of the hall, a county council spokesman said. This paper has been invited to attend.
Asked on prevous occasions about why a vote was not required to allow Velo South, the county council has said it does not involve the investment of council funds and managing the consequences of road closures is the responsibility of the event organiser.
The county council has also defended the the event as being of benefit to business and to tourism.
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