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Organisers counter concerns by pointing out all road closures are approved by the emergency services

A petition has been launched asking Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry Councils to refuse permission for the 2020 edition of Vélo Birmingham and “do something better” instead.

The petition has been set up by 48-year-old Lewis Edwards, who lives in Meriden near Coventry city centre.

Explaining his reasoning to the Coventry Telegraph, he said: "The reason for the petition is that when the event happened last year, the roads near where I lived were completely blocked off.

"Living in Meriden, there is only one road that goes through the centre of the village. We are used to roads closing for an hour or so for genuine charity events like fun runs, remembrance services and the OVO, but the bike ride means that we are stuck in our own homes for majority of the day, with restrictions being put on people’s movement from 11pm. I live in a cul-de-sac so there is no way of getting out."

Velo Birmingham organisers CSM Active have often come under pressure from local residents regarding road closures.

The 2017 edition was re-routed following opposition in Worcestershire, while late changes to this year’s route were branded “unforgiveable” by one local councillor.

Edwards continued: "I am all for raising money for charity and I have nothing against cyclists, being a cyclist myself, but I really feel as though the residents have not been considered and that the issues raised should be taken seriously, with proper consultation and sensible consideration of the health and wellbeing of people who live on the route who have no exit or entrance to their own homes.

"With many elderly residents in the area, many home visits to drop off medication, food and hydration could not take place or were seriously delayed, with stewards blocking carers and visitors on the day."

Responding to Edwards’ petition, a spokesman for Vélo Birmingham was keen to talk up the positive impact of the event and pointed out that all road closures are approved in advance by the emergency services.

"Given the necessary road closures that are in place on the day – all of which are signed off at the Safety Advisory Group by all stakeholders and the Emergency Services – we accept that a small minority do not support Vélo Birmingham & Midlands.

"We invest a great deal of time and effort to minimise as much as possible the impact on local residents and businesses.  Along with our partners at Birmingham, Coventry, Sandwell, Warwickshire, Dudley and Solihull Councils, we strongly believe that the event delivers a significant net benefit to the region in terms of profile, economic impact, health and well-being, the environment and charity fundraising.

"The fact that the West Midlands plays host to the second biggest cycling event in the UK is something to be incredibly proud of and we will continue working hard to make Vélo Birmingham & Midlands an event that everyone can enjoy and benefit from.

"If anyone has any questions about the 2020 event, we encourage them to reach out to our dedicated route team by emailing route [at] velobirmingham.com ."

At the time of writing, the petition had attracted 680 signatures.

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