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Major route changes to Vélo Birmingham after local opposition

Closed road sportive will skip 20 miles of planned route in Worcestershire and spend longer in Staffordshire instead

Organisers of the Vélo Birmingham closed road sportive, the inaugural edition of which takes place on 24 September, have announced major route changes following local opposition to road closures in Worcestershire.

The route within Worcestershire has been shortened by 20 miles and a section in Herefordshire skipped altogether, with the event now spending longer in Staffordshire instead.

Some 15,000 riders are due to take part in the event, and while organisers describe the changes as “exciting,” they acknowledge that the change are designed to “address issues which inevitably arise from an event with road closures of this scale.”

> Vélo Birmingham moves to allay concerns over road closures and safety as local anger grows

As we reported in May, there were concerns that the even might not be able to go ahead with a Worcestershire County Council official suggesting that permissions for road closures might not be granted.

The council said it only learnt that the event was on fully closed roads when leaflets were distributed to local homes and businesses.

A loop through west Worcestershire that included Great Witley and Hillhampton has been removed altogether, and there has also been a re-routing between Droitwich and Cutnall Green to minimise the impact on pubs and other businesses there.

The early part of the 100-mile sportive will see participants leave Birmingham to head towards the new Staffordshire section, which will take in towns and villages including Kinver, Wombourne and Trysul.

CSM Active executive chairman Jon Ridgeon said: “We were already working closely with Staffordshire as an existing route partner and we are delighted to be able to extend the Vélo Birmingham route further into this beautiful county.

“We think our riders will agree that this new route is absolutely world class, and I’m sure they will be guaranteed a fantastic welcome in Staffordshire.

“We also want to thank our local authority partners in Worcestershire, Sandwell, Dudley and of course Birmingham, for their continuing commitment and support.”

Mark Deaville, highways leader at Staffordshire County Council, commented: “This promises to be a memorable event for the region and has taken a lot of planning by the organisers and councils.

“We’re sure people will be supporting those taking part in the challenge and that they’ll have an enjoyable day.

“We are delighted that 20 miles of the route will go through Staffordshire, providing us with a brilliant opportunity to showcase our beautiful county to over 15,000 riders from right across the UK and further afield.

“There may be an impact on surrounding roads so we’d ask people to plan journeys in advance if they’re in that area on the day.”

In May, Jon Fraser, head of highways at Worcestershire County Council, addressed a meeting of Great Witley and Hillhampton Parish Council in May after local businesses and residents expressed concerns over how the event, and the road closures, would affect them.

"We've been in dialogue with them [CSM Active] and we had some concerns over the impact,” the Bromsgrove Advertiser reported him as saying in response to news of the revised route.

"We support this sort of thing but we need to balance that with the interests of businesses and residents.

"People have raised a number of concerns and we've been discussing this and this is partly the solution.

"They've addressed a lot of our concerns by changing the route.”

But he added: "We still have some concerns at Ombersley and Belbroughton where there's still some work to do.

"We told them we were disappointed by some of the consultation and responses to businesses so far and I think they realised they need to put more resource and time into that.”

"It's a good compromise, however we do recognise there is still some work to be done for local access solutions."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Leviathan | 6 years ago
1 like

Yer welcome, me ducks.

abrooks | 6 years ago
1 like

We rode the Hereford part months ago in preparation.  We stopped at a cafe for food and the owner knew straight away we were doing the Velo in September so we can't have been the first ones, that extra business has gone now the route has changed.  I guess that some businesses will do well out of these events but others must have thought about it and considered that there will be no trickle down. 

Shame though, 15000 people doing a 100 mile bike ride is a lot of people getting or staying fit.  Should be encouraged no?

dottigirl replied to abrooks | 6 years ago

abrooks wrote:

We rode the Hereford part months ago in preparation. 

I have to say, I can't understand why people do this. Part of the enjoyment for me is the surprise of what's around the next corner. I know people like to have good times, but is that just it? Please enlighten me.

(Mind, after the audax I did on the weekend, I wouldn't pay for something like this anyway!)

Jem PT | 6 years ago
1 like

I think that on the day of the event businesses will not boost their income and may even suffer. But a successful event will bring back cyclists for repeat visits throughout the year. Just look at how cycling has taken off in the Surrey Hills since the 2012 Olympics and Ride London events.

1961BikiE | 6 years ago

From what I have seen of cycling events in the UK of the last few years the pubs, cafés etc in the area that has now been excluded have quite likely kissed a pay day goodbye. Well done Staffs, I'm sure our leisure businesses will welcome the extra income on the day.

Martyn_K | 6 years ago

While it is hard for local authorities to establish a net value of events like this in the short term, the long term benefits of hosting something like this are high. I'm sure many of those participating will find areas of countryside that they would love to ride again so the potential for cycle tourism is huge.

It looks like those in power in Staffordshire know the value of the cyclist pound. I hope that in the coming years the local businesses around the route see an upsurge in the leisure activites economy.

peted76 | 6 years ago

Well at least it's going ahead, it's nice out Wombourne way.. 

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