The biggest cycling park in the UK has been granted planning permission – the A2 Activity Outdoor Community Sports Park at Gravesend in Kent – after receiving substantial backing from British Cycling and it is scheduled to be completed by 2012.
The 43-hectare woodland park will be three times bigger than the Olympic Velopark in Hackney which is sure to excite cycle fans. Even more exciting is that British Cycling is i involved in rolling out more projects to deliver first class cycling facilities across the country as part of their four year plan for cycling and road.cc understands that these are likely to include more such cycle parks.
Planning permission for the world-class sporting facility was secured last week along with a grant of more than £600,000 from British Cycling for the scheme, and the Colyer Fergusson Charity, the trustees and owners of the largest portion of the park, gave their support and said they may be able to grant funds.
Kent County Council Project manager for the scheme Laurence Tricker said: “We have had this vision of the possibility of using this land for cycling for many years, ever since the carriageways of the A2 Trunk road were moved southward.
“Now that we have planning approval the first phase will start in 2010 and should be completed by March 2011, and then the next phases should be completed in 2012. British Cycling have lent us their expertise on national facilities and helped with the design and have offered funding towards the scheme.”
Key facilities include an all-weather Cycle Sports Circuit - for safe competitive speed, endurance traffic free road cycling, mountain bike routes, a 1800sq m community sports pavilion, international standard skateboard park – with the potential to host international events and providing world-class facilities, International standard BMX Park - with racetrack, trails and arena providing world-class facilities, technical riding area for developing different skill levels, and a natural play area and children's cycle play area.
The Core Activity Area tarmac track will be a 2.8 km tarmac track, 6 metres wide on average, the track is broken down into four smaller tracks all of which can function at the same time or as many and varied combinations. This means that training can be undertaken at the same time as races. Mountain Bike trails will run all over the park with discreet areas for different abilities, from the very young and beginners up to the very experienced who want a highly technical and challenging experience. They will be segregated from the track by bridges and underpasses.
The centre of the core park will be the Pavilion building with café / restaurant, youth drop in and meeting facility, gym , cycle hire storage, British Cycling training centre, workshops, multi use space for dance/ education / music and reception area. It will have an outside terrace linking to gardens / seating areas with more gentle activities. It will sit next to the tarmac track with trackside cycle preparation areas and a separate start building.
The Pavilion will lead seamlessly through a series of spaces to cross, by a bridge across the tarmac racing track into an external activity viewing hub with particular interest for youth but open to all. It will look across the park with close proximity and integration to the BMX and skateboard performance and race areas. It will also allow track side opportunities to view the mountain bike and tarmac track including a special 'freestyle area'.
Top cyclist David Millar has also offered his support for the proposal: "The A2 Activity Park looks to be a fantastic initiative in the perfect location. It is exactly what we need to be doing to encourage the youth to get on their bikes, both for finding bright new talent in the country and for the sheer enjoyment that cycling brings with it. I wish the project every success. "
The facility will bring together local people and national sports bodies, such as British Cycling, British Triathlon, CTC, International Mountain Bike Association, Cycling Time Trials and the British Horse Society and local sports clubs.
Kent County Council has applied for £6,225,760 from Sport England’s Sustainable Facilities Fund and the bid is matched by funds secured from the Homes and Community Agency, Kent County Council, and British Cycling totalling £5,300,723 in capital funds.