Derby is seeking to bolster its reputation as a sporting centre through the planned creation of two hubs, one of which will feature an indoor velodrome, the other a 50 metre, competition standard swimming pool.
Leisure chiefs at the city council have decided to back the idea of building the velodrome since it ties in with Derby’s status as one of Cycling England’s demonstration towns. Besides a 250 metre track, the facility would also have up to a dozen sports courts, and could also be turned into a 3,000 to 4,000 seater concert venue or exhibition hall.
It is also envisaged that the velodrome would have a 2 kilometre closed road cycling circuit outside, as well as an athletics track and cafes and shops.
The combined cost of the velodrome and swimming pool is reported to be £40 million as part of a £50 million investment in sporting facilities in the city proposed by the ruling Liberal Democrat cabinet, and will be funded through local taxation as well as grants from bodies such as Sport England.
Ian Drake, chief executive of British Cycling, welcomed the plans, telling the Derby Telegraph: "If you look at the popularity of all forms of cycling, one of the biggest barriers is the facilities for people to take part in the sport.
"To have a velodrome in Derby is fantastic – the location is perfect and it complements the others in Manchester, Glasgow and London brilliantly,” he added, although the last two are still being constructed for, respectively the 2012 Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth Games, and there is also an existing facility in Newport, South Wales.
He continued, "it's a huge boost for the city and will no doubt help foster future sporting champions."
Paul Robinson, director of environmental services at Derby City Council, commented: "We are working to encourage people to be more active but what we need to do and want to do is provide them with excellent facilities for them to use and also centres which are good enough for elite athletes.
Although the plans need to be voted on by the full council, it is hoped that work on the new developments could begin in 2011.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.