A few weekends ago we saw 15,000 cyclists from all over Britain and Europe passing through Caerphilly. This was part of the Velothon and for Wales and South East Wales generally this was a good news story. It put Wales on the international map in a positive way and it gave a boost to the Welsh economy.

Let me be clear, I am an enthusiastic supporter of cycling and of positive physical activity events generally. Recently, there was the 10K run in Caerphilly and this was a brilliantly organised event by the Council and its scale was entirely appropriate for a town the size of Caerphilly.

The same cannot be said about the Velothon, however.  Unfortunately, the event was appallingly organised. A private company had the responsibility of publicising the extensive road closures and then overseeing the closures and stewarding the route.

The result was that minimal publicity was given about the road closures, roads were closed before the publicised times and then re-opened later than they should have been, and some roads were closed virtually all day.

For a significant number of people in Caerphilly the visit of the Velothon was a pretty miserable experience. Some people were unable to go to work and others had to stay in Cardiff to get to work the following morning. I have had reports of the police being called to fracas between residents and the stewards, many of whom had no knowledge of Caerphilly. Shopkeepers have told me that their takings were down because of the road closures. At least one ambulance was delayed and carers have formally complained to the organisers that many of their clients were left unattended for most of the day. Aside from the general inconvenience, some people had difficulty visiting their loved ones in Ysbty Ystrad Fawr

As the local MP I consider it to be my duty to stand up for the interests of local people. And for this I make no apologies. The Velothon is due to come back to Caerphilly for the next four years and I will do everything I can to ensure that the experience of Sunday 14 June is not repeated.


This article was written for Local View.

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