The future of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey cycling event continuing in Surrey beyond 2021 will be decided by Cabinet on 27 October.
It is proposed in the report that Surrey will not take up the option to support this event for a further five years and will instead support, as previously agreed, the reduced 2021 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey cycling event in 2021. Beyond 2021, the Council’s focus would be on smaller, community-led cycling events that encourage a greater variety of participants whilst minimising disruption for residents.
The consultation undertaken earlier this year demonstrated that resident views for and against the event were finely balanced, and in fact there was a large proportion of people strongly opposed. The concerns expressed by residents demonstrates the level of disruption the event caused for some of Surrey’s communities which, it is made clear in the Cabinet report, simply cannot be taken lightly.
In addition, the report highlights that a huge effort was taken by Councillors and officers to try and seek a better deal, from London Marathon Events and Trust, for Surrey residents in the form of financial support to provide more cycle training for young people in Surrey’s schools. Unfortunately, with the current climate, this was not a commitment that could be made at this time.
Denise Turner-Stewart, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities said: “We are committed to encouraging cleaner, greener travel and recognise the health and well-being benefits from all kinds of sport including walking and cycling. We are actively seeking new opportunities within Surrey to encourage all sorts of people to get out and about on their bikes. The recommendations in the paper were not easy to make, and we held off making this decision until we had exhausted all available options to try to make the event work for our residents. However, the ethos of the smaller event; focusing on inspiring the take-up of cycling by women, families, and Wheels for All, more closely aligns to the Council’s objectives to encourage cycling for everyday journeys. Although we can no longer support the larger closed road event, we remain open minded to hosting less disruptive, smaller family focused events in future years”.
This year’s RideLondon-Surrey event was cancelled due to Coronavirus, and organisers have scaled down the May 2021 event with no 100-mile sportive event or men’s UCI World Tour race. On this basis, next year’s event will only pass through Surrey for around four miles. Surrey County Council are continuing to work with the event organiser to maximise the benefits to Surrey and mitigate any potential negative impacts of the shorter event.
The cabinet paper on this can be accessed here.