Scottish Cycling says it needs a low cost competition standard cycle track in the East of Scotland.
The sport’s governing body has published a national facilities strategy that says it needs more than just the proposed new velodrome in Glasgow. Their document, prepared by Genesis Strategic Management Consultants, covers all kinds of cycle disciplines. For track cycling, it says the main challenge is at regional level and it highlights the success of the Meadowbank velodrome.
The report states: ‘One of the great strengths of cycling as a sport is the breadth and diversity of its club network. However, as much of the activity takes place on the roads, it can be difficult for young people in particular to engage formally with the sport. This is where the sport needs to build on the strength of the club network by creating a set of development centres around the country.
‘The creation of a formal network of regional development hubs in the main population centres will provide much improved access to the sport and stronger feeder structures into national facilities.’
It recommends the creation of two low cost venues for track cycling of competition standard, one in the East of Scotland and the other in the North East. The cost is an estimated £5 million at 2008 prices.
Triple Olympic Gold medallist Chris Hoy has already called for suitable facilities for his sport. Hoy started his career at the closure-threatened Meadowbank velodrome and he has called on Edinburgh’s Council to rethink its plan for sport provision at the popular venue.
Allister Watson, a director of Scottish Cycling, says in light of his organisation’s report Edinburgh Council should do all it can to retain a track cycle facility at Meadowbank. He said: ‘The Meadowbank site is perfect for sport. It is very convenient because it is centrally located and contains a mix of facilities that is available to everyone. A low cost track on its own wouldn’t do. But it would be enough if it had the necessary other facilities nearby. Manchester’s sports village is a good example.’
Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor welcomed the report. He added: ‘Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government both say they want to honour Chris Hoy for his achievements. The best way the Council can do that is to retain track cycling at Meadowbank with Alex Salmond providing the funds. This is an ideal chance for the SNP Government to invest in sport and provide adequate funding so that Councils can maintain facilities such as Meadowbank.’
A petition to ask the Scottish Government to provide more funding for national facilities is available on the http://www.savemeadowbank.org website.