Campaigners ‘appalled’ at announcement over Velo South 2020

Velo South route
Velo South route

The Stop Velo campaign has said it is ‘appalled’ that the county council is considering allowing the controversial cycle event to return in 2020.

West Sussex County Council has said the 100-mile cycle event will not return in 2019 to give it time to ‘better understand’ concerns about the event but it remained ‘open minded’ about events on such a scale.

READ MORE: Controversial Velo South to return in 2020

Chris Matthews, a leading member of the Stop Velo campaign, was one of many who had been planning to protest march on the day of the event before its last minute cancellation in 2018.

He said: “It’s appalling that the council have announced they are thinking about this before they have consulted with the thousands of residents who opposed the last one.

“They have broken every single promise in terms of learning from 2018 by cancelling their wash-ups and we have no confidence in their ability to look at Velo South 2020.”

READ MORE: No decision on Velo South 2019 until review is completed, county council leader promises

He said the fact that the announcement from West Sussex County Council had been made on the same day that Velo South displayed an advance mailing list for 2020 meant ‘they’re going to do it’.

“What angered the thousands and thousands of residents last time wasn’t just the road closures, it was the complete lack of consultation and it’s like they’ve learned zero,” he added.

READ MORE: How Velo South became so controversial

In response, the county council stressed that no agreements are in place for an event in 2020.

A county council spokesman said: “The council will welcome applications from any potential organisers who are interested in holding an event next year, including CSM Active.

“Lessons learned during the preparations for Velo South are being reflected in a new Major Events Protocol for the county, which is currently being developed by officers.

“The protocol will be shared once approved and will provide event organisers with guidelines as to what information needs to be provided to key council service areas before Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders are approved.”