KING GOES TO STRATFORD FOR EASTWAY VELOPARK CRISIS MEETING
PETER King faces a lively reception at tonight’s Eastway Users Group (EUG) meeting at Stratford Old Town Hall (7pm, Tuesday, February 27), hastily arranged to discuss the Olympic Delivery Authority’s decision to shrink the Velopark to less than one third of its size, with little or no off-road provision.
For although King, Chief Executive of British Cycling, will insist that British Cycling will strive to get a better deal for the Velopark, he will need to explain why BC’s website studiously avoided mentioning the site has shrunk.
He has been criticised for being too compliant with the ODA, of not pressing hard enough for the ODA to honour the original legacy.
However, King has told Richard Arnold the ODA representative that notwithstanding the changes the ODA is seeking to make for the Velopark ... it had still been anticipated the ‘package’ of facilities to be created in legacy mode would at least equal the package envisioned by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.
Eastway User Group’s mission statement is as follows.-
“To campaign for the New Eastway to have improved facilities for all disciplines of cycle-sport (including infrastructure such as club and changing rooms, car parks etc) without any facilities being lost during the construction phases.”
Current plans see the Olympic velodrome and BMX track – bequeathed to the sport as part of the Legacy – now being squeezed alongside an unsatisfactory road circuit which is too close to the mainroad for comfort. The speedway track has gone, and only a pitiful off-road course is to be shoehorned in after protest.
The ODA is trying to fit too much into the area, to cater for other sports, extra housing and the return of allotments.
But that is no excuse for taking out a world class facility - the great Eddy Merckx who raced there praised it as such - only to hand back a third-rate circuit with no mtb course.
Last year, Eastway mtb riders won six national titles. EUG wants Eastway returned as it was, with interest, which means better than before.
In fact, the facility is protected under an Act, as Michael Humphreys, chairman of Eastway Users Group, explained to Peter King. Humphreys says lets... "Settle the legacy as best we can now using the statutory instruments available.
“These do come with a guarantee because that's what the Lee Valley Park Act of 1966 is there for," said Humphreys. "That's why its aim is to manage the open spaces of the Lee Valley for recreation and that's why it was given so much land and so much legislative protection for it. The LVRPA has to do what it's told by the London boroughs and other precept payers. It's already in trouble with them over the Olympic park and other things. It is the land, not the landowner or the operator to which the planning conditions apply.”