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Councillor hits out at "unforgiveable" changes to next month's Vélo Birmingham and Midlands route

Organisers say that changes follow consultation and will ease disruption caused by 17,000-rider event

A councillor has said that changes made to the route of Vélo Birmingham and Midlands are “unforgiveable,” with local residents notified of the alterations a month and a half before the event is due to take place on Sunday 12 May.

Organisers CSM Active, however, say that the amendments, which follow consultation with stakeholders including local authorities whose areas the 100-mile route passes through, are designed to reduce disruption caused buy the event, which will have 17,000 participants.

Birmingham Live reports that residents were notified of the changes by letter last week.

Deirdre Alden, Conservative Councillor for Edgbaston, said: "My particular annoyance is that the route through Edgbaston has been changed with no notification to either councillors or residents until now.

"People who live on the route may well have organised events, thinking that the route (as published in December) was not going to be along their road – only to find at this late stage, that it is. This is unforgivable."

Fellow Tory councillor Debbie Clancy, who represents Longbridge and West Heath, also criticised what she saw as poor communication of the changes.

“The event will have an impact on many people for instance anyone travelling to work, visiting elderly relatives, social family events generally shopping, getting to the airport etc,” she said.

"When you look at the size of the route you can understand why residents within the route will feel trapped should they need to get through the route barriers."

In response, CSM Active told Birmingham Live: “Route changes are a result of ongoing planning and consultation with key stakeholders, transport providers and agencies to ensure that we maintain as much access as possible across the West Midlands and minimise disruption.

“While we acknowledge that the changes will affect some areas that previously weren’t impacted, they significantly improve access across the West Midlands, particularly in Birmingham.

“A second letter drop to thousands of homes and businesses with key information including the route changes started on Monday, March 25. The new route is also available to view at”

The closed road event was first held in 2017 under the name Vélo Birmingham on a different course which headed out into Worcestershire and Staffordshire but which underwent significant revisions in the build-up due to opposition from local residents and businesses.

A planned second edition last year was cancelled ahead of the event being relaunched as Vélo Birmingham and Midlands for 2019.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Timsen | 4 years ago

As a local Club cyclist, I'm not a fan of CSM and the way this has been organised and promoted. I too feared a backlash from the last event but so far as I'm aware it didn't happen.

In my opinion they would have been better to essentially stick with the previous route and just make alterations around problem areas.

The Velo was suprisingly well received in a number of villages and I put this down to the fact that a lot of residents knew someone who was taking part. Also the fact that a lot of money was raised for charity would have reduced the number of complaints.

Using a similar route would have enabled all concerned to use the lessons learnt. This new route will just annoy a fresh group of people and put the organisers back to square 1. in terms of trying to build goodwill and a sustainable event.


peted76 | 4 years ago
1 like

To be fair though 'CSM' have form here with not being very organised, promising a route and delivering a different route, they are quite consistent in being not very good at the very basics of delivering a closed road event, e.g. ensuring the roads are allowed to be closed.

Six weeks is not much notice. Imagine you'd arranged a birthday party for someone and had carefully taken into account the closures previously informed and then six weeks prior get informed the road is closed. The councilor is right, it's just not fair. 

Yes all the complainers/complaining is very provincial, but I'm no fan of CSM. They provide a very expensive closed road ride for purely profit purposes and stir up bad feeling with locals who will hate cyclists more than they do already. 

I think we should feel sorry for any commuting cyclists for a couple of months around the event, no doubt they'll get the brunt of the blame. 


RichK | 4 years ago

Alden(s) (all three of them) have a history of opposing anything cycling related at every opportunity.  

levermonkey | 4 years ago

They're quite happy with the money that this event pours into the local economy though.

I haven't looked it up but I would guess the figure is between £1.5M and £2M.

burtthebike | 4 years ago

Please chaps, have a little sympathy for those poor tory councillors.  It must be so difficult for them now that even the BBC won't feature the faux anti-semitism in labour story, and their own government has whizzed straight past omni-shambles, zoomed past chaos and is now somwhere beyond the abyss.  How to distract the masses?

Judge dreadful | 4 years ago

Here we go again. I hope no one asks CSM active to organise any piss ups, in any breweries.

alansmurphy | 4 years ago

Won't somebody think of all the street parties in the local communities!


What do they aim to do about the disruption most will face getting to the event by way of car, I've heard the M6/M5 can sometimes have quite a few vehicles on it...

ktache | 4 years ago

Goin' down the only road I've ever known...

brooksby replied to ktache | 4 years ago
1 like

ktache wrote:

Goin' down the only road I've ever known...

Is the next line, "Ev'ry stop I make, I make a new friend "?

 I claim my £5  3

brooksby | 4 years ago

Here we go again...

(I think the organisers are missing a crucial point here, which is that the local councillors and residents will in many cases not be happy unless the velo doesn't take place AT ALL).

HarrogateSpa | 4 years ago

Deirdre Alden, Conservative Councillor for Edgbaston

This anti-cycling councillor has been looking for every opportunity to complain about cycling for decades. What an embarrassment.

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