Vachery Triathlon cancelled following clash over county's cycling guidance
This year’s Vachery Triathlon has been cancelled and the company which ran the event has ceased trading after a dispute with Surrey County Council.
Last year’s event caused much public outcry as residents complained about the possible impact of the planned road closures on the Surrey Hills.
As a result, the event’s organiser Brave Events scrapped the road closures on all but a few miles of the route and contained much of the event to the confines of Cranleigh’s Vachery estate to accommodate protesters’ views.
CEO of Brave Events, Mark Davis, claims that his company ran the Vachery Triathlon in 2013 on the understanding that the event was approved by Surrey County Council to run again in 2014 on the same basis, as it would not be viable for his organisation otherwise.
Mr Davis, said: “The council maintains that it would only be able to run Vachery in 2014 by following a new and far more onerous process that requires, amongst other things, the unanimous support of a long list of stakeholders including all affected parish councils.”
Mr Davis claims that the requirements of this new process are completely unachievable and out of line with the agreed and implemented requirements for the event in 2013 and also out of line with the similarly long-term approval enjoyed by Prudential RideLondon cycling event.
Mr Davis said: “As the council has now confirmed, it does not accept our position, perhaps in recognition of the anti open-road cycling furore from local politicians and protesters experienced last year, and instead insists there was no standing agreement for Vachery in 2014.”
Brave Events has said that it hase set out its position to Surrey County Council in a clear and detailed way in an effort to resolve the issue and allow the Vachery Triathlon to continue in 2014.
A Surrey County Council spokesman responded, saying: “We are not the organisers of the Vachery Triathlon and have not been involved in any decisions about its running.
“There has been no dispute with event organisers Brave Events.
“We told them that if they want to apply to close the roads for the triathlon, they must follow our new process, involving consultation with residents, businesses and councillors and a formal application; and so far we have not received anything from them.”
Mr Davis added: “The council’s statement is contradictory in that it states there was no dispute with Brave Events and then confirms the position it has adopted in relation to Vachery in 2014.
“It is precisely the position that we must follow a new process to obtain approval for any road closures, which has been the subject of the dispute.”
Approximately 3,500 competitors were expected to compete in the triathlon with many people who have already signed up losing a part of their entry fee.
Mr Davis said that the insolvency practitioners dealing with Brave Events’ insolvency will be able to give entrants some of their money back.
The Vachery Triathlon was due to take place on July 20, several weeks before the Prudential RideLondon event organised by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, on August 9.
Mr Davis said: “It is incredibly frustrating and deeply saddening to disappoint the triathletes, spectators and volunteers who shared our vision and contributed to the short but stunning sporting success of the Vachery Triathlon Festival.”
The Stop Surrey Being Turned Into a Cycle Track online petition was launched by disgruntled Esher resident Ian Huggins on July 31 last year, and he hopes it was the new legislation that was enforced by Surrey County Council on road closures for racing events, that has caused the cancellation.
“I am delighted for the people of Wallis Wood and in the affected areas that it has been cancelled,” he said.
“They have suffered enough and there is no need to make Vachery an annual event.”
11th Mar 2014