Potential return of Velo South is a fresh menace

Velo Birmingham 2017
Velo Birmingham 2017

Yes, unless we fight it off there’s a fresh menace ahead: a revival of the Velo South cycle race.

Days before last year’s version was suddenly aborted, West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith told your paper that she had taken aboard the protests against it.

Writing in your paper soon afterwards, she showed she had done no such thing.

She accused the protesters of being ‘negative’ and ‘aggressive’. Really?

Which is more negative: to want to use public roads to go around on, or to ban that use for most of a day so that thousands of cyclists can have a race, to the profit of a private company called CSM Active?

Which is more aggressive: to let scores of people’s cars park overnight as usual on local roads (eg, in South Harting and nearby Nyewood), or to threaten to bundle them off to heaven knows where?

Even cancelled, this folly cost certain local attractions or places of resort, like the pub at Funtington, hundreds of pounds in takings for the day at issue.

And where were the alleged long-term economic benefits to our area?

I’ve investigated a bit among the local press paper and councils of the area involved in last year’s equivalent Velo Birmingham, and found evidence of individual on-the-day losses, but none of long-term gains.

No surprise, this year’s version of that race, now named Velo Birmingham and Midlands, covers a much different area.

Last year’s route lay largely to Birmingham’s west and south-west.

The new version stretches mainly eastward, as far as Coventry.

I wonder what taradiddle about ‘economic benefits’ the new towns were fed?

Unless our Tory county councillors come to their senses, we shall be fed the same garbage – except that CSM Active now talks of even more cyclists than before.

Stephen Hugh-Jones, East Harting