Changes to London's Olympic Velopark spark objections

Don't alter post-2012 plans, say British Cycling and Sport England

British Cycling and Sport England have lodged a joint objection to proposed changes to London's new Velopark after the 2012 Olympic Games. Plans for the future of the site had been agreed by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), but last month the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) submitted two new planning applications.

Aimed at freeing up green space for local residents, these proposals would, if approved, change the boundaries and layout of the site. We contacted British Cycling for further details of their objections but they were reluctant to give much away during what is an ongoing battle with the OPLC.

“We believe the existing plans for the Velopark approved by the ODA will ensure a greater legacy for cycling following London 2012 and are fully supported by the key project partners including British Cycling and Lea Valley Regional Park Authority,” they said in a statement. “While the objection has been lodged, we're trying to work with all parties involved in the Velopark to find a satisfactory solution to the issue.”

An OPLC spokesman told BikeRadar they wanted to improve the original plan by having the road course in a more contained area. "We're seeking planning consent for an alternative cycle circuit route in order to improve public access to one of the most picturesque parts of the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park," he said.

"The change will open up a section of land in the north-west where people will be able to enjoy a larger amount of quality parkland, bordered by crescent housing and the River Lea. Securing a fantastic cycling legacy is crucial to the Park's success and we've been working with Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, the ODA planning decisions team and cycling groups to create an alternative route that fulfils the same design criteria as the existing scheme."

The original plans, which included a one-mile road circuit, 6km of mountain bike trails and a BMX course, were agreed in 2010 by the ODA in consultation with British Cycling, the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and the Eastway Users Group. The latter was set up to help fight for a legacy for the Eastway Cycle Circuit, which was demolished to make way for the Olympic Park.

British Cycling says it is willing to work with the OPLC to reach an agreement in line with what was originally agreed. “Ultimately one proposal will be chosen," the statement added. "For British Cycling, the national governing body, it's right and proper to ensure all options on the table have benefitted from our technical expertise and experience so that, whatever the outcome, cycling will benefit."

A public consultation on the proposed changes ended yesterday. It's not yet known when a final decision will be made, but we'll be sure to keep an eye on this one.

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