OLYMPIC DELIVERY AUTHORITY FORCED TO RECONSIDER MAKING VELOPARK BIGGER
The 2012 London Olympic Delivery Authority have been accused of planning too small a Velopark for the Olympic Legacy, because they wanted to sell land for housing, it was revealed recently.
The ODA were told cycling provision couldn’t be compromised. This was highlighted during a six-hour meeting to discuss both the Olympic provision and Legacy Planning Application, during which British Cycling was reassured that the Velopark Legacy plans could be improved upon.
It was the first meeting with the ODA since British Cycling and the Eastway Users Group in June rejected the outline plans for the Velopark on the grounds that provision for road racing and mountain biking were totally unsuitable.
Instead of the 24-hectare site given up by the Eastway Cycle Circuit now demolished on the Olympic site in Hackney, the ODA proposed only a 7 hectare site, cramming a velodrome, BMX track, an unimaginative road circuit too close to the A12, and a 950 metre mtb course, instead of the six kilometre course now lost.
British Cycling said a member of the ODA Planning Committee was... “explicit in condemning the compromise that meant cycling got less land as a result of the desire to secure a financial return from the sale of houses after the games.”
The ODA seemed to have got its priorities wrong, the committee said. It was pointed out that the “Olympic Legacy should be about excellent sports facilities not development and that it was a shame not to make the cycling facilities as good as they could be “for the sake of a few 100,000 pounds”.
The ODA have reassured British Cycling that a “much greater area of land could still be provided for the Velopark, promised as part of the 2012 Olympic Games Legacy.”
British Cycling took comfort from the ODA giving repeated and firm assurances that the Legacy cycling facilities proposed in plans, first published in February this year, were not set in stone and could be changed and that nothing being approved at this stage would prevent a much more generous provision of land within the Park for cycle sport (particularly off-road circuits).”
Vivienne Ramsey, ODA Head of Development Control, stated “... that the current applications did not determine a specific length of any circuit and that the ultimate cycling facility Legacy would be decided as part of the detailed design phase, which would be completed by the end of 2009."
Ms Ramsey confirmed and stressed that ‘great importance’ would be attached to the views of ‘National Cycling Bodies and the EUG’ which were to be solicited as part of the consultation on the detailed design.
It was confirmed that the current application for permission in relation to Legacy facilities is in outline only and the indicative proposals set out at this time could change in the future.
The debate concluded that detailed plans for the Legacy cycling facilities would be considered by the Planning Committee before any detailed planning permission could be given the Legacy development of the land south of the Velopark – which had been reserved for development and sale.
British Cycling’s Chief Executive Peter King said after the meeting: “We are pleased with the outcome of this meeting which means that there is plenty of scope for an improved cycling plan to be worked out with the ODA. The ODA have been told, in effect, that the current proposals are not satisfactory.
The Committee clearly took onboard all the comments of British Cycling in its 15th June objection, as to the inadequacy and inequity of the current ODA proposals. There is much work to be done to secure an acceptable Legacy for cycling on the site of the former Eastway, but British Cycling and its partners are determined to continue to fight for this.”