A MAJOR new velodrome could be created under plans to develop a multi-million pound cycling hub in the Capital.
Today the devlopment was welcomed by by the city’s most famous Olympian Sir Chris Hoy.
City chiefs insist the concrete track – set to be laid at Jack Kane Sports Centre – would run year-round alongside a one-kilometre road loop at Hunters Hall Park, with scope to add a BMX circuit in future.
The news has been hailed a “great boost” for Edinburgh cycling following concerns city athletes might eschew the ageing velodrome at Meadowbank in favour of the new state-of-the-art facility in Glasgow.
Sir Chris said: “I’m delighted to hear that a new velodrome and road circuit are being built in my home city of Edinburgh, and very pleased to hear that the council is investing in local sports facilities and in cycling in particular, to provide decent access and facilities for people wanting to get in to the sport. This is great news for Edinburgh and for the future of Scottish sport.”
Investment worth £1.2 million has been ring-fenced for the project – which has yet to be rubber-stamped – and match funding bids are set to be submitted to Sportscotland to finance the hub.
Graham Jones, registrar at Edinburgh RC Cycling Club, said the move was “tremendous” for proponents of the track and road disciplines.
He said: “We have been campaigning for a little while about getting a new facility in Edinburgh.
“We heard about the opportunity at the Jack Kane Centre and we have officers in our club who got involved with the council to explore that. We have been looking for another off-road circuit to hold criteriums [short bike races] similar to what we use at Ingliston.
“It would be a great boost for us because the hire charges at Ingliston have gone up dramatically in recent years. A council facility would be far more cost competitive.”
The proposal comes just weeks after the News reported how a “rigorous consultation” on the future of Meadowbank was under way.
Councillor Richard Lewis, culture and sport convener, said the city was “committing substantial funding” towards improving Edinburgh’s sporting infrastructure, particularly in relation to cycling.
“The phenomenal success enjoyed by Sir Chris Hoy has acted as an inspiration to many and interest in cycling is at an all-time high,” he said. “Our vision is to create a cycling hub which will be accessible all year round.”
LAUNCH PAD TO SUCCESS
EXCITING plans for a new velodrome and cycling hub for east Edinburgh come amid concerns about the facilities at Meadowbank.
Meadowbank’s famous wooden velodrome was erected in 1985 by the renowned Schuermann Architects of Germany and it became the launch pad for the likes of Sir Chris Hoy and Craig MacLean.
Sir Chris, Britain’s greatest ever Olympian, previously hailed Edinburgh as “one of the great track cities” and called for Meadowbank to be saved.
The city council has allocated £60,000 for an “options assessment” of its future. A working group is being set up to plot a course of action.