10 September 2015

Council on track to improve the Velodrome

Cycling competitions could return to the Preston Park Velodrome – if a joint funding scheme from Brighton & Hove City Council and British Cycling is approved.

Members of the council’s Economic Development and Culture committee are being asked to agree to a £298,000 scheme which would see the fencing around the Velodrome replaced and minor repairs carried out to the cycle track.

The work would mean the track could be used for cycling competitions. Its current condition means it is only suitable for casual use.

The project would be funded with a grant from British Cycling, match funded by the council. The council’s match funding would be found from section106 money from the redevelopment of the Co-op in London Road (£100,000).

Cllr Warren Morgan, chair of the Economic Development and Culture committee said: “We welcome the proposal from British Cycling which could see competition racing returning to this popular and historic cycling facility.

“Whilst we are happy to consider match funding the cycle track work as a ‘one-off’ project, our priority is to work with the Friends of Preston Park to draw up a long term management plan to improve to enhance and improve the park for all its users.”

Originally built in the late 1800s, the Preston Park cycle track has been regularly used by several clubs based in the city for training and informal competitions.

However, in September last year British Cycling, the sport’s governing body, raised concerns about the safety of the track and declared it unsafe to be used for cycle racing.

The Preston Park velodrome was closed to competitive cycling after users of the track identified, in particular, the fencing but also other aspects of the site as in need of modernisation.

A condition survey report estimated that work to replace the fence and repair the track would cost £298,000. Since the report, cyclists in the city have been campaigning for the track to be repaired, organising events and presenting a petition to the council.

British Cycling has indicated that it would consider contributing toward the cost of replacing the fencing and repairing the track. Councillors are being asked to agree to match funding using section 106 money from the redevelopment of the Co-op in London Road.

The scheme will not require match funding from the surplus of Preston Park pay and display scheme which is ring fenced to park improvements. The fund raises approximately £35,000 per year for the park. It has already been used to fund refurbishment of the Rotunda toilets and a further £15,000 will be spent on repairs to the Chalet toilets next year.

The councillors have also been asked to approve increasing the charges for hiring the track to bring them in line with similar cycle tracks across the country and help fund future cleaning and maintenance costs.

Read the reports for the Economic Development & Culture Committee  (Agenda item 20)