Funding application being made to save Brighton cycle track

Posted On 17 Sep 2015 at 5:52 pm

A funding application will be made to try to save Preston Park Cycle Track in Brighton.

Members of Brighton and Hove City Council agreed that the funding application should be made to British Cycling, the sport’s governing body, at a meeting this afternoon (Thursday 17 September).

The decision was made by council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee which also agreed to put up £100,000 from the money paid by developers to improve local parks and gardens.

Preston Park Cycle TrackBritish Cycling has already indicated that it would look favourably on such an application, having told the council earlier this year that the track was no longer safe for racing.

The main problem is the fence surrounding the track which was deemed unsafe after a cyclist died at another track where there was a similar style of fence.

The total cost of the project is expected to be £285,000.

While the track needs repairs, these are not crucial and the track itself is fit for racing. It would cost more than £800,000 to relay the track and this is not included in the proposed scheme.

The council will also remove the roof of the stand which was found to be unsafe when it was surveyed. The removal is expected to cost about £25,000.

The council will also put up charges to £50 an hour for groups if they have exclusive use of the track – up from the current £4.50. The aim is to put the track on a more sustainable financial footing.

Council leader Warren Morgan said that the cycle track was a unique and valuable asset and this case was a good example of how the council was able to unlock external funding.

The committee, meeting at the Jubilee Library, in Brighton, heard from the Friends of Preston Park, who gave their backing to the cycle track. But the group’s chairman Tony Benson urged councillors to look at the park’s needs in the round.

Councillor Morgan said that other opportunities to do this would arise and this funding application needed to be dealt with now.

Anthony Rogers and Alison Lewis spoke for the cycle clubs that use the track. They emphasised the wider benefits, including health and fitness.

The committee agreed unanimously to apply to British Cycling for funding and put up match funding to bring the track back into use for racing.

Afterwards representatives of the cycling clubs that use the track said that they were pleased. They were keen for funding to be secured as soon as possible.

And they hoped that the work could be completed before the start of the cycle racing season next April although the timescale is tight and another season could be lost.

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