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“They’re essentially locking down”: Residents angry at “ridiculous” traffic restrictions ahead of UCI Cycling World Championships

Concerns about gridlock and other disruption have been raised as Dumfries hosts the Para-Cycling event in August

Residents have criticised “ridiculous” traffic restrictions which will allegedly cause gridlock and other disruptions in Dumfries, host to the Para-Cycling event at the UCI Cycling World Championships later this year in August.

Residents in parts of the Scottish town complained that they will not have access to the street between 7AM and 6PM on August 9 and 10, with some saying that they’ll be forced to park their cars at a nearby Tesco overnight, the Daily Record reported.

Michelle Mitchell, a Dumfries resident said: “First of all I want to point out that I am all for these events coming to Dumfries. But give us reasonable solutions for getting around while it’s on. The restrictions that will be placed on us as residents for the duration of it are unacceptable, impractical and ridiculous.”

“When I first looked at this I thought ‘Okay I can deal with that’. But the more I’ve looked into it the more ridiculous it is,” she added.

> 2019 Road Worlds ‘closed Harrogate town centre for a month’ says council report

Some of the areas affected by the restrictions will include Maxwelltown and Summerhill. Mitchell, a resident of Summerville Crescent, pointed out that there will be no vehicle access to a medical practice nearby and anyone attending the surgery will need to park at Tesco and walk.

Similarly, those in Barnhill will face a limited window of time to take their cars out. The council website mentions that there will be no vehicle access between 9:15AM and 6PM.

Mitchell said: “They’re essentially locking down Dumfries. They might as well shut the whole of Dumfries for two full days because gridlock is going to happen. The Whitesands, Glasgow Street, Terregles Street and Lochfield are completely cut off from 6AM to 6PM.

“When I challenged them on how we get to work, visit elderly relatives or do the shopping, the comment I got back was that you can walk. Or I can park my vehicle in Tesco’s car park.”

> Fresh row in Harrogate over UCI Road Worlds graffiti and bill to repair 'devastated' Stray

Some others in Summerville Crescent also shared her views. One person said: “I’m all for bringing money to the region with big events like this but not at the expense of residents. I’ve got two kids I need to drop off at childcare before I start work so this will have a severe impact on me. I finish work at 2.45PM. What am I supposed to do for just over three hours before the road reopens? I don’t think enough thought has been given to this.”

Another resident added: “Me and my partner have health and mobility issues and I care for my mum who is out of town. I can’t drag my kids up at 5am just so we can get out before these restrictions. It’s not reasonable.”

This year will mark the inaugural edition of Cycling World Championships when all of UCI’s events will take place at one place, with Scotland playing the host to the mega-event. The Para-Cycling Road Championships will take place in Dumfries and Galloway from August 9 to 13.

But this is not the first time that a UCI’s cycling event has faced a backlash in Britain. When the Road World Championships took place in Harrogate in 2019, residents and businessmen were not the most pleased either. Town centre traders said they suffered a drop in earnings due to road closures, while residents said the event caused disruption to their daily lives.

> UCI Road World Championships fans spent £22.5 million in Harrogate

A council report found that the Championships “closed Harrogate town centre for a month” and the impact it had on the city, which hosted the finish of the races, was ‘unacceptable’.

The report also made a number of recommendations including ensuring greater involvement of local businesses and residents prior to the North Yorkshire  hosting large events in the future.

However, another economic impact assessment report published in February 2020 showed a massive economic boost to the North Yorkshire town due to the event, as cycling fans who flocked to Harrogate for last September’s UCI Road World Championships spent a combined total of £22.5 million during their visit.

But the “ill-feeling” due to the event, as described by the Tour de Yorkshire organiser hoping to revive the popular stage race, was so widespread that Harrogate Borough Council made it clear that it does not intend to host any road cycling events in the near future.

> World Championships in Harrogate "catalyst for ill feeling", says organiser hoping to revive Tour de Yorkshire

In 2021, another social impact evaluation commissioned by British Cycling, Sport England and UK Sport, found that: “There were also some negative consequences of the Road World Championships expressed by host community residents surveyed, particularly in Harrogate, where respondents were critical of the inconvenience and disruption due to the prolonged road closures compared with other host locations such as Doncaster and Leeds.

“The event was seen to have had a major disruptive impact on the community in Harrogate, which is illustrated starkly by Harrogate Borough Council's decision to refrain temporarily from hosting major events of this scale.”

Adwitiya joined in 2023 after finishing his masters in Journalism from Cardiff University, with a dissertation focusing on active travel. He's currently living in Cardiff and for the most part moans about the abruptly ending cycle lanes, if he's not cursing the headwind. Adwitiya also covers local and national politics for Voice Wales, and sometimes dabbles in topics related to science, tech and the environment. Cycling became a part of his life just a couple of years ago, and now he can't think of a single reason why anyone would drive if they could cycle. He usually uses his bike for commuting, but he also loves excursions on the Taff trail, however never underestimate his ability to find an excuse to watch something on GCN instead.

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