BRITISH CYCLING ATTACKED FOR NOT OPPOSING SHRINKING OF VELOPARK
IN a strongly worded letter, Catford Cycling Club has accused the British Cycling Board of meekly standing by when the Olympic Delivery Authority reneged on the Legacy promise to provide a new Velopark, which was a cornerstone of the Olympic bid.
The ODA has shrunk the plans for the Velopark from the 34-hectare site promised - whether the Olympics came to London or not - to a site less that one third the size.
The road circuit is described as of little merit, while the off-road facilities are unsuitable for competition.
The issue over the promise to rebuild Eastway, demolished to make way for the 2012 Olympic games, sparked a furious war of words between the Eastway Users who have strongly objected to the ODA’s plans, and British Cycling who don’t want to rock the boat.
Catford CC’s letter starts by saying that although the British Cycling Board has endorsed it's chief executive Peter King’s compliant stance in not objecting to the ODAs plans, “members and affiliated clubs do not share in your confidence that cycling’s best interests are being served.”
The letter goes on to say: “Our impression is that having firmly secured the future of the (Olympic) Velodrome, BC officers are prepared to let the remainder of the promised Velopark go by default.”
The club further says that if King new, as it appears he did, that from the moment the London bid became successful, there was never any prospect that cycling would get 34 hectares, “it was his duty to ensure that at least enough land was retained to ensure a Velopark containing all the original facilities to fully meet the users' needs.”
The Club further points out that the “London Alliance” formed by BC to represent members interests is not an effective consultative body because “it denies representation to the wider membership of British Cycling and the very much wider group of former Eastway Users.”
The club calls on British Cycling to re-assess their position and take a more pro-active approach to ensure the needs of future Eastway users are met.
A statement from British Cycling president Brian Cookson posted on BC's website a few hours later, while not referring to Catford CC directly, refuted claims that BC were prepared to let other facilities slip to secure a Velodrome.
While acknowledging there were different opinions on how to seek improvements to the plans, Cookson claimed again that British Cycling's approach had been misrepresented in the press, that they were right and those who argued against them were wrong.