New cycling hub and café on Leith Hill given green light

The iconic climb features in the Ride London route

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Plans for a new cycling hub and café on a famous Surrey climb have been approved by local councillors.

Cycling holiday company Just Pedal applied to Mole Valley District Council to set up a new facility that would be welcomed by riders taking on the Surrey Hills.

The plans for cycling café, an office for the cycle events business, and a bike repair workshop were approved by councillors on Wednesday (January 8), despite receiving seven objections from local residents over “noise pollution and litter due to a potential increase in traffic.”

Director and owner of Just Pedal, Robert Hawkins said: “Just Pedal are still growing as a company and plan to move to larger premises on Coast Hill Farm in the heart of the Surrey Hills, the area where the company has been based since it’s creation.

"Here we plan to set-up a much needed ‘hub’ facility that benefits both the local community and visiting cycling community. The ‘hub’ will consist of our current event offices, a bicycle centre and a café. We will also provide much needed parking facilities for visiting cyclists.”

The application is to convert a former poultry farm on Sheephouse Lane – one of the eight ascents included in the ‘Leith Hill Octopus' – into a cycling hub.

Just Pedal, founded in 2012 and based in nearby Albury, organises charity challenges and cycling trips throughout the UK and Europe.

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Despite the objections from some local residents, which include “strongly object on the basis of large groups of cyclists impeding traffic flow on the A25 and Sheephouse Lane”, council officers recommended the planning application be approved, with councillors signing off on the plans with conditions, which include the owners sticking to the planned opening hours.

The other iconic climb in the Surrey Hills also features a café for riders to refuel – the Box Hill Café is a national trust spot serving up drinks, food and cakes.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.