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Lib Dems question cycling decision

October 25, 2013 9:11 AM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

Prudential Ride London Surrey Classic 2013 (Photo: Garry Knight)Following questioning, Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council and County Councillor for the Dorking Hills Division has uncovered that the Conservative run Cabinet of Surrey County Council 's only formal decision taken by them to allow the event (formerly the Marathon on Wheels) to take place in Surrey was taken in December 2011 in private.

Cllr Watson said: "The only formal decision making meeting made by Surrey County Council about the Prudential Ride London Surrey Classic event was in December 2011 and that meeting was held in private. This means that Surrey residents and businesses have had no opportunity to scrutinise or raise concerns about the decision to allow the Prudential Ride London cycle event to be held in Surrey before the decision was taken despite the significant impact on many Surrey residents and businesses as a result of lengthy road closures as well as a commitment to allow the event to take place in Surrey for 5 years."

Cllr Watson added: "It is unclear when and who made the decision to allow the event to take place in Surrey for 5 years from 2013 as the only formal decision by the Cabinet in December 2011 made no reference to a 5 year commitment. I am continuing to raise questions with the Cabinet at their next meeting to find out who made this 5 year commitment so that they can be held to account."

Cllr Watson concluded: "Many Surrey residents are dissatisfied with the lack of consultation by the Conservative-run County Council relating to allowing these cycle events to take place in Surrey, which involve lengthy road closures and the land locking of many residents and businesses. It now transpires that the decision-making relating to these cycle events was far from open and transparent, and may not have met the legal requirements for such a decision to be taken."

ENDS

Notes:

Hazel Watson has submitted the following question for the 26 November meeting of Surrey County Council's Conservative Cabinet:

At the County Council meeting on 15 October, I asked Cllr Helyn Clack the Cabinet Member for Community Services and the County Councillor for Dorking Rural Division on which date and who at Surrey County Council made the decision that the Prudential RideLondon Surrey classic event would take place in Surrey for 5 years starting in 2013. The response to my question received from Democratic Services following the meeting referred to a decision of the Cabinet made in private in December 2011, but this decision or the confidential paper do not refer to a 5 year commitment. As there are no Cabinet decisions or individual Cabinet Member decisions about the Prudential cycle event or the Marathon on Wheels as it was originally named, apart from December 2011, and therefore the assumption has to be that the Leader of the Council decided to approve the Prudential event for 5 years on his own accord, outside the formal decision making system of the Council.

a) Is my assumption correct that the Leader of the Council informally decided that the Prudential cycle event would come to Surrey for 5 years from 2013 without a formal decision and if not who at Surrey County Council made the decision and when was the decision made?

and

b) Given that the only formal decision of the County Council in relation to the Prudential Ride London cycle event (formerly named the Marathon on Wheels) was taken in private, does the Leader of the Council agree with me that Surrey residents and businesses have had no opportunity to scrutinise or to raise concerns about the County Council's plans to allow the Prudential Ride London cycle event to take place in Surrey before the decision was taken despite the significant impact on many residents and businesses as a result of road closures as well as a commitment to allow the event to take place in Surrey for 5 years?

Hazel Watson tabled a written question to the Cabinet Member for Community Services on the issue at the 15 October meeting of Surrey County Council, the reply did not answer any aspect of the question:

Surrey County Council has referred to an annual Prudential RideLondon Surrey Classic event taking place for 5 years starting in 2013 and has also referred to the economic benefit to Surrey of these events. In view of this:

(i) On which date and who at Surrey County Council made the decision that the Prudential RideLondon Surrey classic event would take place in Surrey for 5 years starting in 2013?

and,

(ii) What is the estimated economic benefit to Surrey per annum for holding the event and how is the figure calculated?

Reply:

Cabinet took the decision to support the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and Classic events. In coming to their decision, they balanced the economic, community and health benefits to the whole county against the disruption that road closures regrettably cause.

Experience from world class annual sporting events such as the London Marathon has shown that they bring maximum benefit if run over a number of years. The benefits increase year on year in terms of increased business and economic benefit, more money being raised for charity, greater community involvement, a stronger elite field and more spectators and broadcast interest leading to increased economic benefits to the county.

In its inaugural year, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 has helped charities raise an extra £3.5 million and raised the profile of the county as hundreds of thousands of people around the world watched live coverage of Surrey.

Specific evaluation is being carried out by the event organisers and this will give us a clearer picture across Surrey. However, the benefits to Surrey of national and international profile will bring increased business and economic benefits not just on the specific days of events but also on a continued basis as tourism increases.

Hazel Watson asked a verbal supplementary question asking for the information requested in the written question to be provided and was directed to the decision taken by the Cabinet in December 2011, which has no reference to a 5 year agreement, see http://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/Data/Cabinet/20111220/Agenda/Cabinet%20Minutes%2020%20Dec%2011.pdf

186/11 2012 LEGACY (Item 15)

The Cabinet considered actions pertaining to 2012 legacy.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the hosting of the legacy event set out in paragraph 3 of the report submitted be agreed in principle on the basis set out in the report.

(2) That a contractual agreement be entered into to host the legacy event set out in paragraph 7 of the report submitted in 2012 and 2013; subject to an annual economic impact assessment in future years.

Reasons for decisions:

Hosting the events will build on the Olympic legacy of encouraging healthy lifestyles, the green agenda, sustainable transport development and aligns with the council‟s community strategy priorities. It will increase the profile and reputation of Surrey as a tourist destination and bring both event specific and year-round economic benefits.