Stop Surrey Being Turned in to a Cycle Track petition reaches over 1,100 signatures - effect on small businesses to be investigated

"People complain more than they respond positively," says Federation of Small Businesses officer...

The Federation of Small Businesses is investigating the effect of the RideLondon sportive and road race on Surrey businesses after a local businessman’s petition against the events reached over 1,100 signatures. The ballot for entries into the 2014 RideLondon 100 sportive closed yesterday after 80,000 riders applied to take part in just 27 days.

Ian Huggins of Esher set up the Stop Surrey Being Turned Into a Cycle Track petition at the end of July, just before the RideLondon festival of cycling.

Now the petition has 1,164 signatures, or very slightly over one-tenth of one percent of the population of Surrey.

He told the Surrey Advertiser: “We have had a good response from Philip Hammond MP and a good number of our objectors have been asked to contact their MPs and their councillors so we are waiting to hear back from them.

“The Federation of Small Businesses is conducting a survey to see how local business have been affected by the event.

“I am hoping they have had time to canvass their members to find out what the financial implications were.

“Along the way there will be winners and losers and I think there will be an awful lot of losers.”

Pauline Hedges, secretary of the Surrey Policy Team for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said the response to the petition had been mixed.

She said: “Locally, the FSB received a few calls, as did the main office in London, regarding the cycle race. One of the members started this petition so we decided to forward it to members. It came from members and we responded by circulating it.

“We have had a few replies from people. We have had more people complaining than people saying it was a good thing but that is quite normal – people complain more than they do respond positively.

“We have not had a chance to analyse it because the information only went out on August 24.

“It has only been a week and people are only just getting back to work but we have had people saying they have lost business because they had to close down.”

In case you missed our earlier story, here's the full unedited text of Mr Huggins' petition:

Apart from the obvious dangers to cyclists,Surrey roads are not suitable.Surrey County Council have, without consultation,decided it would be a great idea to use Surrey as a race track. This in it's self is a thoughtless act but far more importantly residents and numerous businesses are being effected by road closures. This prevents residents of Surrey from leaving their own property and going about their normal business. The road closures were a necessary inconvenience during the Olympic Games but now it looks like Surrey County Council are to make this an annual event. This is all very well but residents of Surrey are pestered and annoyed by cyclists ( practising months in advance of the event ) who ride the route in very large numbers from very early in the morning shouting at each other (have you tried talking whilst riding your bike?) and riding in large groups sometimes three and four abreast or in strings of riders making it virtually impossible for the poor old motorist, many of whom are elderly, to overtake.Traffic violations are common and it is only a matter of time before there is a major accident with the possibility of the loss of life. It will of course be the motorists fault. Have Surrey County Council considered the number of heavy goods vehicles using the roads. The route chosen is all enclosing and no provision has been made for vehicular crossing points. So to facilitate a bike ride many Surrey residents are to be confined to their homes from 5 am until 9 pm.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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