Council leader ‘appalled’ by length of planned road closures for Velo South

The length of some road closures planned for last weekend’s cancelled Velo South cycling event ‘appalled’ the leader of Chichester District Council.

The 100-mile ride, which was scheduled for Sunday (September 23) was cancelled by organisers CSM Active days before due to forecasts for ‘unsafe’ weather conditions.

DM171440a.jpg. Chichester council leader Tony Dignum. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170901-111140008

DM171440a.jpg. Chichester council leader Tony Dignum. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170901-111140008

At today’s full council meeting, Andrew Shaxson (Ind, Harting) described how concerns about the event had been ‘turbocharged’ due to a lack of proper consultation and communication.

Although CDC was a ‘bit player’ he asked if a similar event is planned again all district councillors would be given a say on whether it is supported or not.

John Connor, cabinet member for environment services, said: “This council is not even a bit player in this, we have no role in making a decision. We do not have to give any sort of permission. It’s a private thing organised by a private company.”

Tony Dignum, leader of the council, said it was a difficult job to balance the enjoyment of cyclists with the serious impact on a number of local businesses.

He described how support would only be given after all the detail had been provided, but was ‘appalled’ at the length of some of the road closures planned for last weekend.

He added: “It’s just unacceptable the choice of roads, why were main roads picked when there are parallel lighter roads?”

He continued: “We will not be giving our support until we are confident the details have been thoroughly worked out and we are aware of them and the community are behind them.”

Mr Dignum concluded: “I hope we can be getting an event but it may well have to be a smaller scale but we will have to wait and see.”

Although it would be brought to full council on whether to support Velo next year, he pointed out that a final decision would rest with West Sussex County Council.

READ MORE: Organisers ‘confident’ of Velo South 2019
‘Reflection’ promised by West Sussex County Council over Velo South process
How Velo South became so controversial