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County faces legal action over planned road closures for cycling event

West Sussex County Council has appointed law firm Sharpe Pritchard to defend a judicial review challenge brought over proposed road closures that would allow a major cycling event to take place later this month.

Some 15,000 riders are expected to take part in the 100-mile Velo South event on 23 September.

Campaigners from Stop Velo South have instructed Guildford solicitors Cheyney Goulding to launch legal proceedings.

The group said their grounds of the challenge were that the council had failed to follow the correct procedures and legal requirements in giving its blessing to the event and its attendant road closure programme.

The claimants argued that:

  • The council failed to consult the public whilst the proposals were at a formative stage as they ought to have done;
  • The council ignored the Department of Transport’s 2016 Special Events Guidance requiring consultation on the proposed road closure orders;
  • The council failed to gather the necessary information required to come to a reasoned decision on road closures;
  • The council had not gained the approval of the Secretary of State to close sections of road that had previously been closed for other events; and
  • The length – both in roads to be closed and times of closure - of the proposed road closures was excessive.

Stop Velo South said: “We fervently hope that [the council] will redeem their reputation to some degree, by acknowledging their errors and cancelling approval for the road closure programme.

“If only the council had acted as they are required to do by consulting with the public at the earliest opportunity then an alternative event of which we all could be proud could have been designed.”

West Sussex has been approached for comment.