News – The Future for Bec CC Hill Climbs


Closing the road for the classic BEC CC hill climb just got a whole lot more complicated for organiser Gary Beckett

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News – The Future for Bec CC Hill Climbs

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Message from organiser of the Bec CC Hill Climb Gary Beckett

Hi All, I’m not quite sure where I should start with this one, so I’ll just bash the keyboard and see what we end up with… Basically, it’s a a plea for support (should you choose to do so) as persons who have ridden, enjoyed, or otherwise been involved with the Bec CC Hill Climb…

To speed up my one fingered keyboard bashing, I’ve copied and pasted below the guts of an email I received recently that will give you an idea of where this is leading…

Dear Mr. Beckett ,
It has come to Surrey County Councils attention that the road that is used (White Lane) during the The BEC Hill Climb has previously been closed under the Police and Town Centre Clauses Act 1847. As this event is a sporting event, you are required to close the road under Section 16A of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and not the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847.

This means that should you hold the event in 2015 and wish to close the road, you will be required to follow a different process for closing the road than you have followed in previous years. For 2015’s event, you will need to apply to Surrey County Council using the same framework as all other cycling and sporting events that close the highways in Surrey. I have attached all the necessary documentation.

Please refer to the Event Organiser’s Guidance for Events on the Highways document for a detailed explanation of the process you are required to go through in order to successfully apply for a 16A road closure. From this document you will be able to see that we start the process as soon as possible. Therefore we ask that should you wish to close the roads for your event, please submit the completed Event Application Form as soon as possible to this email address. We will provide you support and advice throughout this process should you require it.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards
In a nutshell, I am at present in negotiations with Surrey County Council over the Issue of obtaining a Road Closure permit for future editions of the Bec CC Hill Climb., without incurring a huge charge. We have never had any issues in the past, as Road Closures came via Tandridge District Council at no cost. Tandridge were very happy with the way we went about our organising business, and how YOU enjoyed the event as either Competitor, Spectator or Supporter, and would of continued in the same manner had not Surrey CC taken it from their jurisdiction.

Surrey County Council are, and I must stress this point, NOT BY ANY MEANS against us holding our event in the future, nor any other events involving Cycling within their borders. Its just that they will now be targeting ALL cycling events that require a closed Road to apply by the administrative method mentioned in the above email.

Ironically, one of the main reasons indicated to me at a recent meeting with SCC for this ‘clampdown’, is its concern over the Growth in Popularity for Cycling within Surrey. Particular mention was given to Sportifs, & Mass participation Cycling events passing through or within their borders. Inability to control these particular events under current legislation appear to be the mainstay of their concerns.

No mention was made when questioned by me, of complaints from Surrey Residents. But concerns regarding effects to local environment issues, personal safety of Cyclists when in large groups, some cases of inconsiderate riding etiquette, and frustrated members of the public being inconvenienced were high on the Agenda!

The fact that the Bec CC Hill Climb, has managed to run pretty successfully for 59 years without issues, was noted but held no sway in the matter now at hand.

My worry as the organiser in the firing line of all this ‘new admin’ is one of unsustainable increased financial burden to the event (not including the extra workload that will be incurred). This is of grave concern, as in the past there have been no budget requirements needed for a road closure, other than those as a result of the necessary measures being put in place to deliver our event to the standard required by the Highway Regs.

If the Bec CC are to be subjected to the Full Financial Implications of the Application Method now being imposed by Surrey County Council… Then the 2014 edition of the Hill Climb would without any doubt have been the last!!! 59 years of History, and a lot of hard work down the drain, because somebody in an office wishes to move Goalposts!

As it currently stands, I’ve ’provisionally’ negotiated with SCC to waiver Admin Costs (iro £2.5k+), but this is still at the ‘maybe’ stage & is not yet a definite..
It has been suggested that we might, as a gesture of goodwill on the part of SCC, we might only have to pay the costs of an Advert appearing in a Newspaper notifying of a Road Closure… Not a bad offer one might think, but even this generosity will still add a further £700-800 to event costs, and almost definitely be beyond the events budget… SCC ‘might’ be willing to look at a sliding scale of costs with a view to giving us time to adjust Event Costs to Incorporate Full Administration Charges within a couple of years. If this were to be the route we are forced to follow, then obviously the end result will be that someone will have to make up the shortfall, which will probably be the Competitor!!

(It is my understanding that the Catford CC Hill Climb has also been subjected to similar issues of sliding scale finances imposed by Kent County Council, so that they can continue to running their iconic event. This has caused them a lot of extra work, as well as costs to keep their event on the race Calendar.

I personally cant help wondering if other CC’s around the UK follow suit by charging for others work, which is in most cases given voluntarily to make sure there are Events to enjoy, that many other Races might be in danger of being struck from the Calendar.!!

To give you an idea of where we the Bec CC have been financially in our quest to build a successful event over the years, 2014 which was by far the Biggest in the events History, was as far as I can recall, the only time it has not incurred a financial shortfall!

A small profit was shown this year, and that was achieved by the Generosity of Sponsors for the Prize list etc, as well as people giving time & skills for free, donations from Bec members, and support from the many spectators spending their hard earned at the Tea Stall….

For weeks I’ve been wondering where we might ‘cutback’ future events in order to survive in its current guise….Its difficult to imagine where we might do this without taking huge steps backwards in how the event is currently delivered. One obvious way would mean returning to the ‘old days’ of no Road Closure!! An option which would have huge knock on effects in so many areas.. And as far as I’m concerned is not a route I wish to return too if I continue to be the Organiser..

The other is take the Bull by the Horns, and try to move the Event to levels of Organisation where it no longer resembles its ‘roots’ as a Club Cyclists event. A nice thought in some respects… Glitzy glamour, TV, star riders, big paydays for all involved etc (including Councils).. Not impossible to do, but I certainly do not have the time (or skills) to turn it into that big an earning event, and really, is that the way you’d like to see it develop (too much)??

For now, I’ll continue to negotiate with SCC and hopefully make them understand that a Hill Climb is not a Huge money making promotion, that the BEC CC and many other Clubs organise events just to give something to Cycle Sport (apart from a reputation of running a reputable event) and that most similar events across the UK Calendar could not possibly survive if they were to have costs imposed on them such as we might possibly incur…

If this is of concern to you, Please write ASA (as time is against us on this issue) your support for this event so that I might use it to bolster its case.

Email me at  or send a letter if you prefer, addressed to myself , 5 Archer Road, London SE25 4JN.

It was suggested to me by a Councillor, that any support shown might go a long way into helping those in Administrative Position at the Council, to fully understand where events such as ours are in the pecking order of organised events.

Please note, I’m not asking for volatile reactions, that might be misconstrued by Councillors. Just clear concise support should go a long way to winning them over…

Its nothing personal from SCC.. But ‘in my opionion’ just another way in which our Society seems to be rushing headlong into administrative oblivion to impose unnecessary restrictions at the expense of others enjoyment, that is bringing this issue to the fore.

Club organised events are the lifeblood of our sport be they TT’s, Road Races, clubruns etc, and should not be priced out of the market…
Kind Regards, Gazza
If the thin edge of a wedge is blunted before its wielded, its harder to drive it home!

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