A closed road cycle event, which is planned for Sunday 23rd September, is facing legal opposition and peaceful protests. The sportive style ride, which begins and ends at Goodwood in Chichester, will pass through 100 miles of the Sussex countryside and has places for 15,000 riders.
Managed by CSM Active, whose 1000 employees operate from 25 offices globally, the company emphasises the economic benefits of Velo South for the local area. However, it has faced criticism for failing to consult with local communities, the length and duration of the road closures (indicated to be up to 9 hours in some locations) and failing to adequately communicate about the closures.
A leaflet has been delivered to affected business and households, but this quickly came in for criticism as it failed to point out that local residents could also cycle on the closed roads or use them as pedestrians.
Petitions both for and against have been launched on 38 degrees. In addition a legal challenge has been submitted to Guildford County Court by a group of local residents who have launched a campaign titled StopVeloSouth. It was not clear whether the aim of the legal challenge was to prevent this years’ event or prevent a repeat of the event.
CI.N contacted the campaign and was told that residents anger was towards the organisers and local council, not cyclists taking part in the event. The website is co-coordinating peaceful protests and has recently added advice from the local police.
CI.N also attempted to contact CSM active but a comment has not been given at this time.
With debates occurring across many local and cycling forums, opinions appear to be both divided and complex.