On Saturday February 28 at 11am riders will stage a slow ride around Preston Park Velodrome in Brighton to raise awareness of its plight. The velodrome is currently closed for racing after British Cycling said it was too dangerous to use for competitive events. Campaigners fear that without racing, the days of the facility might be numbered.
Last year British Cycling submitted a list of defects to owners Brighton and Hove City Council, all of which will need remedying before the track can be cleared for competitive use. However, it has been deemed safe for use out of competition and remains well frequented by cyclists.
“It’s brilliant to see so much support for the velodrome, and raised awareness of the risk of losing competitive cycling at Preston Park’s historic track is important in ensuring that the council is aware of, and acts on, the concerns of the cycling community.
“Since the launch of the petition, the council and British Cycling have had further meetings to discuss the repairs and costs involved, and agree a way forward for the work required.”
A spokesman for British Cycling said:
“British Cycling recognises the value of the Preston Park facility to local users and we are working with Brighton and Hove City Council to find a solution as quickly as possible.
“The track was closed to competitive cycling after users of the track identified, in particular, the fencing but also other aspects of the track as in need of repair. Some repairs were carried out by Brighton and Hove City Council but concerns remain about certain parts of the track where it is thought that safety may be compromised in competitive events.
“British Cycling has met with representatives from the council to discuss the work. They acknowledge there are still some challenges which need to be addressed and they have agreed they will look into what will be required to bring the track up to standard.”
The spokesman added that British Cycling had commissioned a condition survey of its own, which will include an assessment of the cost to repair the fencing and carry out any other work required.
Yesterday we reported on another racing facility which is currently out of action, this time in Portsmouth. The Mountbatten Centre’s cycle track was closed in March 2014 after Richard Phillips-Schofield died following a crash during a race. Despite repeated calls from the cycling community to reopen it since then, the track has remained closed with few signs that this is likely to change any time soon.
As with Preston Park, there is a petition to reopen it, but thus far British Cycling have shown less inclination to get involved.