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Mole Valley Local Cycling Plan approved by district council – aim is to promote cycling but also minimise the impact on local residents

Councillor admits cycling remains a ‘hot topic’ in Surrey

The Mole Valley Local Cycling Plan has been approved by Mole Valley District Council. The plan seeks to improve cycling facilities and training for everyday cyclists and to encourage positive relationships between different types of road users. However, councillor David Mir, chairman of the council's cycling working group, admits that cycling remains a "hot topic" in the area.

Speaking to the Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser, Mir explained:

"This plan seeks to balance the need to support our residents to enjoy cycling as part of a healthy lifestyle, while seeking to manage and reduce the negative consequences of the growing popularity of cycling."

Amongst other things, the aims are to ensure widespread availability of cycle training, to encourage cycling as sustainable transport and to reduce the impact of cycling on the local community, including businesses.

It is that last point which will doubtless generate most debate. Mole Valley includes both Box Hill and Leith Hill and an increase in cycling events in recent years has resulted in a great deal of local opposition.

Last year, a local businessman launched the Stop Surrey Being Turned Into a Cycle Track petition ahead of the RideLondon festival of cycling, while more recently a new mountain bike track at Leith Hill was kept closed while Surrey County Council awaited a formal complaint from local equestrians who felt it had been built too close to existing bridleways. In a more extreme example Redhill Cycle Club road race was hit by a drawing pin attack near Newdigate in July.

Although the Mole Valley Local Cycling Plan is primarily focused on promoting everyday cycling, the fact that one of its aims is to ‘reduce any adverse impacts of sport cycling on our communities, including businesses’ means that debate about races and mass participation events is seemingly unavoidable.

Executive member councillor Vivienne Michael commented:

"I have pressed for greater emphasis on considering local businesses, residents and other road users in this plan and I am pleased to see this aspect has been strengthened.

"The pro-cycling lobby argue these are just one or two events a year and they raise much-needed money for charity, but losses to rural businesses, many of which are on the edge anyway, cannot and should not be dismissed so easily."

A plan which encourages cycling while simultaneously seeking to reduce its impact would seem to demand a careful balancing act. As Mir observed:

"This plan is not the end of our work – it is another milestone in our continued efforts, commitment and willingness to work with our communities to encourage healthy lifestyles.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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dafyddp | 9 years ago

This problem seems very concentrated in the South/South-East. Given that it's the densest populated region of the country, anything that help shifts people out of their cars should be encouraged.

Paul_C | 9 years ago

negative consequences? A few motons will have to wait a bit longer to overtake?

Bunch of nimbies...

Talk about a tyranny of the majority...

Housecathst | 9 years ago

"and to reduce the impact of cycling on the local community, including businesses."

WTF does that mean, I wish they would do the same with motor vehicles, I mean there only responiable for the death of 1700 people a year and around 21000 serious injurys. So yeah it's people on bicycles that are the real problem isn't it.

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