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Velo Birmingham hit by route opposition again as local businesses say they will lose thousands

The 100 mile sportive has already had a major re-rerouting - but will it be the last?

Businesses in Staffordshire have hit out at the route for the inaugural Velo Birmingham closed road sportive, saying that they will lose thousands in revenue without adequate warning.

The route for the event has already been changed once, following fierce local opposition 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.

Velo Birmingham 2017 route map.jpg

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.”

But now, businesses like Halfpenny Green Vineyards and Wild Zoological in Bobbington say they knew nothing about road closures from 7am to 1.30pm.

Following a meeting, the traders have united to protect the route.

Bill Wilkinson, chairman of the committee at Halfpenny Green Marketing Group, said a minimum of 25 companies will be affected just by the closure of one road, Tom Lane.

The vineyards has a restaurant, gift shop and coarse fishing on site among other businesses.

He told the Express and Star: "It was a total shock to find out they were closing the road, effectively shutting down all our businesses and no-ones told us anything about it.

"Someone living nearby had a letter – that's the first we heard about it, nothing direct.

"We just feel everyone's passing the buck. We're told it's arranged by Birmingham City Council who seem to have a total disregard for everyone else.

"And everyone is passing the buckk, we've tried speaking to the council who haven't got back to us, the highways department told us to speak to Velo and they don't want to know.

"I don't want to stop the fun and be awkward for no good reason, but there's a lot of one-man operations here and this is something they've been planning for years and we've heard nothing, we've got just a few weeks to prepare for the hit."

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet support member for highways and transport, Helen Fisher, said: “The Velo Birmingham event will bring thousands of people into South Staffordshire and we’re pleased to be able to showcase our county.

"We do understand that on the morning of September 24 there will be some disruption to communities along the route and the event organisers are doing all they can to minimise this.

"The route was changed last month which has brought more of it into South Staffordshire and we understand this has been communicated to all affected residents and businesses."

As we reported earlier this year, there were concerns that the event 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.


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