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Essex cyclists could get outdoor velodrome

Plans for open-air facility located between Southend and Rochford

Councillors are looking into the possibility of constructing a new outdoor velodrome between Southend and Rochford, reports The Echo. The intention would be for the facility to become the East Anglian regional centre.

The project is being driven by former Southend councillor, Adam Jones. He says that a council officer is currently looking into the feasibility of an outdoor velodrome, after which the aim is to raise funding.

“The idea came about this time last year when I went to see the Tour de France pass through Chelmsford. Stepping among the crowds, I realised there was a big appetite for cycling that I hadn’t previously understood.

“I thought we ought to tap into this, particularly in the post 2012 Olympic era, and look at what we could do to improve the opportunity to take up cycling in Essex.”

- Historic cycling venue Herne Hill Velodrome secures pavilion planning permission

Jones has a 250-metre track in mind and says a patch of land around the size of a football stadium would be needed. Rochford District Council have been contacted about possible involvement as they have quite a bit of land between Southend and Rochford, an area that Jones feels would be appropriate.

“The British Cycling Federation’s policy is to have regional centres so if we built a velodrome it would be the east Anglian region centre which would attract talented cyclists and make it a centre of excellence and attract funding. An open velodrome would cost in the region of £1million which in the scheme of things is not a huge amount.”

Jones says that if land can be found quickly, construction could begin within a year. He points out that promising track cyclists at local clubs currently have to go to Herne Hill in London to train.

British Cycling helped secure Herne Hill’s future in 2011 by taking on a 15-year lease from landowners, the Dulwich Estate, who had said they wanted to redevelop it due to the disrepair the track and buildings had fallen into.

The 450-metre track has now been resurfaced and last month we reported how planning permission has been secured for the pavilion that will complete its redevelopment. However, Essex cyclists would doubtless be happier to have a track closer to home.

Graham Longley, the councillor responsible for enterprise, tourism and economic development, said that while a new velodrome was not top priority, he felt positively about the idea.

“Such a sporting facility would be beneficial to residents but as an authority we have to prioritise and at the moment we are concentrating on the new museum and on improving the pier so I don’t think it will happen overnight.

“I am as positive about it as I am of any sport but we have had a meeting and are at the stage of talking to people to see what the possibilities are.”

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Rupert | 8 years ago

Good to see people thinking positive about creating a new track!

Although usually there are more important things for cash strapped councils to spend their diminishing money on, we can't ever escape how important the issue of looking after and creating communities recreational facilities is.

As a nation we are rapidly becoming (or are) the no1 nation for talent in cycle racing but we don't have enough facilities for the ever growing grass routes of the sport.
I hope this project goes ahead it will undoubtedly be a great success if it does.

Meanwhile back in Brighton the country's oldest and arguably most precious outside track is closed to racing !

Please everybody support the SAVE PRESTON PARK CYCLE TRACK CAMPAIGN.

If you live in the Brighton area there is a campaign ride in Brighton on the 5th September. Everybody is welcome to join this ride.
If you're a cyclist we encourage and implore you to join this ride to help promote the campaign.

Here is a link to a video about the track

showmemagic | 8 years ago

I hope this gets built, this would be great for the local area.

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