Cautious optimism about Eastway replacement

More space for Olympic Legacy Velopark

The 2012 Olympics might yet leave a positive legacy for London cyclists after recent meetings between British Cycling, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and representatives of the Eastway Users Group.

British Cycling says it considers the ODA's latest proposals for the Olympic Legacy Velopark, presented on 1 November, as "an acceptable basis for reaching agreement on the final layout."

The proposed park would allocate significantly more land south of the A12 to accommodate a one mile road circuit, several kilometres of off-road trails, as well as the new velodrome, a BMX track and a cycle speedway track.

The proposed park will occupy the site of London's legendary Eastway facility. British Cycling and the users group had been concerned that a possible housing development on the site would dramatically reduce the area available for cycling.

That would have restricted its use, particularly for off-road racing. Eastway was the only mountain bike racing venue in the London area, and the proposed replacement facility would have been too small to hold viable events, according to the Eastway Users Group.

The new proposals should restore the necessary space for Eastway to accommodate all forms of racing.

But the negotiation process is by no means complete. The November 1st consultation meeting was the first of three on the final design. While British Cycling considers the new proposals a step in the right direction, its approval is subject to full commitment from the ODA and Olympic Board and a review of previous planning applications. Until that happens, British Cycling says its objections to the existing outline planning applications remain.

Peter King, British Cycling's CEO, said, "This is a big step forward from the proposals contained in the outline planning application. The ODA and the design team have worked hard in consultation with our own people and I am satisfied that we are now moving in the right direction. I am optimistic that an acceptable compromise, to which all interested parties will have contributed, will be reached before the end of the year."

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