Velo inquests are in order

Velo Birmingham 2017
Velo Birmingham 2017

So it’s goodbye, Velo South: as with the Spanish Armada, ‘the wind blew’ – or was about to – and they were scattered.And let’s hope that, like the Armada, they never come back. But some inquest is in order.

We protestors have been libelled as ‘killjoys’, ‘spoilsports’ and ‘nimbies’, and accused of being anti-cycling.

This was tosh. The focus of almost every objection – see your readers’ letters – was the planned ban on our use of the public roads so that a private company and its customers could use them privately.

Some cyclists’ blogs told us to put our ‘convenience’ second to their day of sport.

How they would feel if they faced some similar ban on their public rights?

Bar a huge advertising feature in your paper, Velo South simply ignored criticism. Some facts would be nice now. Did it really expect to lose money on the race, as a Lincolnshire would-be rider wrote to you (Sept 20) it had told him?

Given the high entry fees and 15,000 cyclists, I wonder. Did it ever plan to give £2m to charity, as, he said, it also told him? Oh yeah. Not even Velo South publicised that batty figure down here. Did it really have 15,000 competitors signed up? No one, including your paper, seems to have asked for proof.

Yet Velo South, let alone its cyclists, is not most to blame; making money is its job. But why on earth did West Sussex County Council agree, consulting nobody, to Velo South’s demand for road closures? Many voters stood to suffer worse than ‘inconvenience’. Some businesses have suffered losses, despite the race’s sudden late cancellation. WSCC has some sharp rethinking to do.

And if ever VS has the impudence to try again here, as it now claims to plan, the proper answer is: go away, we don’t cancel ancient public rights, or privatise public facilities, for any company’s profit.

Stephen Hugh-Jones, East Harting