Fringe Box



Despite Warning, County Council Makes Final Decision, No More RideLondon After 2021

Published on: 27 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 27 Oct, 2020

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

Surrey will no longer host the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey (PRLS) cycling event after 2021. As expected, the decision was ratified by the county council cabinet today (October 27), despite a warning by the event director Hugh Brasher.

He said the decision would prove costly to the county, denying access to thousands of pounds in grants.

The prestigious event, drawing tens of thousands of people, has been run in the county every year since 2013. This year, pandemic restrictions cancelled it and next year’s event has been drastically reduced.

County-wide views are polarised, with many unhappy with the road closures on the day and the anti-social behaviour of a small number of competitive cyclists.

The county council (SCC) said its focus will switch to smaller, community-led cycling events, encouraging a greater variety of participants while minimising disruption for residents.

Surrey County Council leader Tim Oliver took part in the 100 sportive last year to raise money for the Brain Tumour charity. Credit: Prudential RideLondon

Cllr Denise Turner-Stewart, cabinet member for communities, said: “There are smaller events that could be hosted in the county that are less disruptive and would build on the county council’s existing services to inspire and enable more people to cycle for everyday journeys.”

This year, views of more than 9,000 people were gathered in an online survey and in libraries aimed at determining support or opposition. Results show just how divisive the event is.

Of the Surrey respondents, 49 per cent strongly agreed the event should continue as is over the next five years, and 41 per cent strongly disagreed.

And 58 per cent of residents strongly agreed they had been directly impacted by the one-day road closures through parts of Elmbridge, Woking, Guildford and Mole Valley, interrupting businesses and preventing carers and emergency services getting through.

But 49 per cent strongly agreed the benefits outweighed the disruption, compared with 35 per cent who strongly disagreed.

The council attempt to increase the benefits by asking London Marathon Events for money to extend cycle training in primary schools was turned down.

Next year, due to the uncertainty of Covid, the organisers are not having the main 100-mile event or men’s race, instead focusing on women and families with a 50km ride, proposed to go through Surrey for only about four miles.

Prudential Bike Riders Climbing Box Hill

Before today’s decision, Mr Brasher had said: “The recommendation …. is surprising and disappointing. When charities and community organisations are facing huge financial difficulties, Surrey sports clubs and community organisations would no longer be eligible to apply for grants from The London Marathon Charitable Trust.

“More than £4.8 million has been awarded to 93 projects in Surrey since 2013 as a direct benefit of RideLondon. That’s an average of £685,000 per year in funding to Surrey projects for the past seven years.

“Millions of pounds have been spent with Surrey businesses and millions raised for Surrey charities as a direct result of RideLondon.

“Other benefits from the event include more than £50 million value of the promotion of Surrey as a tourist destination, the direct benefits to physical and mental health of cycling and a reduction in pollution levels through more people cycling.

“Surrey will cease to host what is recognised as the world’s greatest festival of cycling. Events the size and scale of RideLondon are founded once every generation and, uniquely, this event cost the county nothing, other than officer time.

“The huge tangible and intangible benefits of the event will be lost to Surrey by rejecting what future generations will acknowledge as ‘The London Marathon’ of cycling.“

Some Surrey organisations that have benefited this year from money raised by the charitable event are Addlestone Canoe Club, Dorking Rugby Football Club, Claygate Primary School, 4th Farnham (Tongham) Scout Group, Nonsuch High School and Silvermere Gymnastics Academy.

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Responses to Despite Warning, County Council Makes Final Decision, No More RideLondon After 2021

  1. R Gambrill Reply

    October 28, 2020 at 5:15 am

    No wonder I left the UK 55 years ago. How sad to cancel for the poor little local chaps. It could only happen in Pommyland. It was only one day per year. I grew up around Esher. Jolly hockey sticks, navy blue knickers and all that.

  2. Alan Morris Reply

    October 29, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    I would like to hear the opinion of those that have had real problems as a result of road closures especially those who have been on multiple circuits around Box Hill, and Ranmore Common where those people could well experience long periods of road closure.

    That said, if it’s good enough to do away with such a prestigious event as Ride Surrey then perhaps we should do away with others like the Guildford Half Marathon and other events around Surrey. It seems to me that self-interest rules in Surrey, if the loss of Ride Surrey is an example. Woe betide any thought of communal interest.

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