More Complaints Over SkyRide

Religious leaders unhappy about arrangements

This Sunday sees a mass cycle ride in Ealing with many roads closed to traffic. Thousands are expected to attend as they did in Hounslow last year but the arrangements for Ealing's SkyRide have been criticised.

Local residents and religious leaders have complained to the Mayor that there has not been enough consultation leading up to Sunday's event. We reprint an open letter from Reverend Graham Weeks from the International Presbyterian Church, Ealing.


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Dear Mr. Mayor,

I write concerning the Mayor of London’s Skyride in Ealing this coming Sunday.

I cycled regularly in London from my undergraduate days in Bloomsbury in the Sixties until the Nineties when I was a Conservative councilor in this borough for eight years. Commuting by cycle was healthier, cheaper and usually quicker than by motorised public or private transport.

But I never expected roads to be closed for me, parking suspended, buses diverted and other people inconvenienced so that I could cycle with fewer safety concerns.

I have in the past few days spent several hours ascertaining how the congregation of our church will be able to get to our meeting place off The Park. Public information has been very sparse for those of us who live outside the Skyride area but wish to travel into it to worship. I have had to search the websites of Skyride, Ealing Council and Transport for London to find information, which has sometimes been unclear and contradictory. I have had to phone the town hall so that a disabled member can drive to church and park there. Hers will be the only car in the car park. The rest of the motoring congregation will have to find spaces on streets crammed with displacement parking.

There has been to my knowledge no consideration given neither to the needs of worshipping Christians nor to those businesses operating on Sunday. I hope It has not escaped your notice that there is Sunday trading these days as well as Christian worship. Tell me Mr. Mayor, would you close roads around a mosque on a Friday without telling the Imam? So why this secularist and anti-business approach to this coming Sunday in Ealing?

You, sir, will not I trust have forgotten how your predecessor in the office of mayor lost many votes in this borough with his unlamented failed plan for trams along the Uxbridge Road. Do you really think that Skyride will be a vote winner?

Yours faithfully,

The Reverend Graham Weeks
(Chairman of the Borough of Ealing Environment Committee 1992-93.)

P.S. I will be informing Sky that if they continue to inconvenience me in this way they will lose my custom like you will lose my vote.

13 July 2010

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