Competition standard cycle track for Doncaster gets the go-ahead
Plans to set up a competition-standard cycle track in Doncaster can go ahead after concessions over trees and greenery were agreed.
The scheme had hit opposition from neighbours who were concerned about plans to remove trees and hedges spoiling their views - but a redesign of the layout to include more trees has now won approval.
Now the track can go ahead on land next to the Doncaster Dome, after an agreement was made to keep an area of protected grassland inside the circuit.
Andy Maddox, Doncaster Council's business development manager for leisure services, said there had also been agreement to add extra trees and hedges at the site.
He said reasons to build the track included to improve the health of residents, saying 33 per cent of people in Doncaster got less than 30 minutes of exercise a week, and that inactivity cost the NHS in Doncaster £5million a year.
But the borough had one of the highest figures for once-a-week cyclists in the country, he added, and the number of people cycling in the UK was rising.
He said the plan for the new track was for it to have 42,000 visitors in its first year, and tickets may be sold in deals for use of the track and other parts of the Dome leisure centre, such as swim and cycle deals.
It will be used as a place for people to learn to cycle properly on the roads as well as for competitions, he said.
It will consist of a new, all weather surface that snakes around the existing rear car park of the Dome, giving local clubs and riders of all abilities the chance to use a custom-made surface for events, training and casual use. It is planned that the site will be managed by Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust.
Doncaster Council plans to finance the scheme by applying for legacy funding from British Cycling – a funding stream designed to support local projects which is set to be made available soon.
Following the tremendous success of the Tour de Yorkshire coming through Doncaster in 2016, when over 50,000 people lined the streets of the borough to watch elite cyclists battle it out, cycling has continued to grow in popularity with more and more people joining local clubs, and events like Doncaster Cycle Festival growing every year.
Doncaster has been selected as a start or finish location for the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire, by which time construction on the cycle circuit should be well underway.
The proposed circuit would be unique, as the only cycle circuit in South Yorkshire that will be accessible seven days a week.
Council cabinet Member for public health, leisure and culture, Coun Nigel Ball, said: “Doncaster is becoming a hub for cycling, with people coming from miles around to enjoy our fabulous rural cycling routes, and the fantastic cycling events we host attracting elite riders and spectators from across the world.
“This project will be another step towards Doncaster becoming even more renowned as a cycling hotspot. Once we have secured the funding for the scheme to go ahead, it will help to encourage more and more people to get peddling and enjoy the wide range of benefits this brings.”