Sunday road closure reminder as Velo weekend gets under way

Residents in the Black Country and Birmingham face huge road closures for the cycle event, which takes place tomorrow.

Velo Birmingham will see a total of 15,000 cyclists take on a journey through Birmingham, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Sandwell and Dudley, many raising money for charities en route.

However, the event will leave many residents in and around Birmingham and parts of the Black Country unable to use certain routes for much of the day as there will be extensive closures to allow for the vast amount of cyclists coming through the area.

Residents, business owners and politicians have raised concerns about the scale of the event and how the many road closures - particularly in the Stourbridge, Kinver and Belbroughton areas - could leave people locked into their properties for hours.

But angry cyclists have hit back at those objecting to the mammoth sportive ride being staged on their doorstep - and called on people to turn out and support the riders, many of whom will be raising money for a host of causes including the Alzheimer’s Society, NSPCC, Cure Leukaemia and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity.

Cycling star Jess Varnish, a former GB track sprinter who rode for Halesowen Cycling Club, who will be among the big-names taking on the Velo challenge, along with her dad James Varnish, a former leukaemia sufferer.

Former England and Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Geoff Thomas, England under-21 manager Aidy Boothroyd and ex-West Bromwich Albion defender Darren Moore will also be supporting event charity partner, Cure Leukaemia, and will join rugby legend Martin Johnson, the event's ambassador, on the ride.

Jon Ridgeon, executive chairman of Vélo Birmingham organisers CSM Active, has described the route as ‘truly spectacular’ and they are looking forward to a great day which will raise thousands for charity.

Stourbridge councillor Les Jones said some residents in the Lye and Pedmore areas would likely be locked into their estates during the morning as they have no way to dodge the road closures. Speaking to the Dudley News, he said:

"I'm still quite gobsmacked about how little we as councillors know about how this all came about. When it was publicly announced, we were just asked to comment on the route - by then it was already a done deal.

"I'm a great supporter of having events that bring our region to prominence but it needed to be done in a way that was sensitive.

"In my ward extra roads have been included because Herefordshire pulled out. People now affected by that have only had a couple of weeks notice."

"There's a seething under current of people who are really upset about it. I think this has been ill thought through and that's one of the things that has annoyed me about it.”

Road closures across the region:

00:00 to 19:00 - Sheepcote Street to finish point at Arena Birmingham

05:00 to 19:00 - A456 Hagley Road to junction with Monument Road start point

05:00 to 11:00 - A456 Hagley Road and A458 to Halesowen

06:00 to 11:00 - A458 Halesowen to Lye, A4036 Pershore Road, B4186, A451 Kidderminister Road, A449 to Stourton

06:30 to 12.30 - A458 to Chester Road, Camp Hill Road, Mile Flat, Church Road, Pool House Road

07:00 to 13:30 - Orton Lane, Ebstree Road, Tom Lane, Six Ashes Road, A458, Kinver Road

07:30 to 14:30 - Gipsy Lane, Blakeshall Lane, A442 Bridgnorth Road, B4189 Habberley Road, B4194, A451

08:00 to 14:30 - A443 to Ombersley, A4133 to Droitwich

08.30 to 16.30 - Crutch Lane, Berry Lane

09:00 to 17:15 - Woodcote Lane, Bradford Lane, Dorsdale Road, St Kenelm's Pass, St Kenelm's Lane

09:00 to 18:00 - Yew Tree Lane into Frankley, through Bartley Green and Harborne, then on to California Way, along Harborne Road up to Hagley Road.

However organisers of the ride say they have worked extremely hard to mitigate the impact the event will have on residents along the route and businesses and they are urging anyone concerned to contact them.

Anyone concerned about bus route diversions should check out the Network West Midlands website. Thise wishing to use rail services are advised that Stourbridge Junction railway station will still be open, but will only be accessible from the Rufford Road overspill car park and walk-way.

Roads affected in the Halesowen and Stourbridge areas will be closed from 6am until 11am and a spokesman for the organisers said:

"We expect cyclists to start appearing on Oldnall Road and then head deeper into the Stourbridge area from around 7.30am. The roads along that part of the course will then reopen once all the cyclists have safely passed through.”

Surrounding areas such as Kinver, Stourton and Wall Heath face closures from 7am until 1.30pm - and roads in Clent, Belbroughton and Romsley will be closed from 9am until 5.15pm.

The Vine at Clent will act as a final pit stop for riders before they take on the gruelling St Kenelm’s Pass - the toughest part of the route which falls just 16 miles from the finish line.

Halesowen North councillor, Stuart Henley, is among the area's keen cyclists looking forward to the event which he is urging everyone to embrace. He said:

"I understand where people are coming from with concerns about the road closures, but it’s only going to be one day.

"We all knew this was coming this weekend – it’s been in the press and those who live along the route would have received letters – so people have had enough time to adapt their plans around it.

"We always moan that London and other big cities always get these big events, but then when they do finally bring them to us, we moan that it’s going to cause us a bit of inconvenience for a morning.

"It will be a great event, raising lots of money for charity, and for everyone not to embrace something like this is disappointing.”

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