British bike parts maker Hope Technology has scrapped the idea of building a a velodrome behind its Barnoldswick factory - but hatched a plan for an even bigger and better track on a completely new site instead.
According to Pendle Today's Will Cook, Hope recently bought a derelict plot, previously the site of Fernbank Mill, for £1.5 million, and will submit plans to Pendle Council for a £4.5m. research and development centre and 250m Olympic length track by the end of the year.
The plan is to build out the facility in stages, Hope co-owner Ian Weatherill said, with an initial 133m track, then a full-size loop.
He said the original idea had been shelved for environmental and space reasons.
"The original plan was to put it round the back of the factory, but it isn't really suitable. It's a conservation area and it's a woodland area.
"It's not perfect and we'd have only been able to get a 200m track in it. It would have been a tight fit; from a structural engineering point of view it's quite difficult."
The new site is brownfield, so there shouldn't be any planning issues, and it's the perfect size for a full 250m track, he said.
Weatherill hopes the track might one day be used for elite racing and even an Hour Record attempt.
"It'd be feasible that someone could set the world hour record on our track. It's getting track time that's difficult, as in Manchester [where] it's a year's waiting list."
But Hour Records are at least a couple of years off as Hope wants to build the track without getting into debt.
“Because we are funding it ourselves and not borrowing any money, the idea is to build it in two stages; a third of the building at first with the research and development centre and a 133m track.
“We are expanding into carbon fibre components and the research centre would be downstairs and the track upstairs.
“We would organise something so that the track could still be used by local clubs when its not in use for testing by us.
“One of the best tracks in Britain is in Southampton and that is 145m long.
“The great thing about this site is there is much more room.
“The access is good, it’s a brownfield site, there is much more room for car parking and the building will block out the noise from the cement works.
“In principle, planners have been positive about it and if approved, we could get straight on with it next year.”
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