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£1.6m velodrome cycling circuit bid for Paignton

By Herald Express  |  Posted: February 04, 2013

By TINA CROWSON

velodrome:   Cllr Robert Excell at Clennon Valley where the proposed cycle track would be built   Andy Styles TQAS20121220C-002_C

velodrome: Cllr Robert Excell at Clennon Valley where the proposed cycle track would be built Andy Styles TQAS20121220C-002_C

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A £1.56MILLION outdoor circuit could help boost plans to make Torbay a cycling Mecca for the South West.

Councillors are being asked to give their go-ahead to the new velodrome circuit which would be the first track of its kind in the South West and has the support of British Cycling which would fund half the cost.

Torbay Council would be expected to find the other half, to be recovered from grants, sponsorship and concessions.

The 400m outdoor track, proposed at Clennon Valley, would have banked sections.

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Special fixed-wheel bikes would be used for local, regional and national competitive events.

There would also be a 1.5km off-road circuit which could also be used for competition and community use, from training primary school children to GP referrals for people trying to get fitter.

It would build on the growth in cycling in the country following the success of riders like Bradley Wiggins and local rider John Tiernan Locke, who won the Tour of Britain which finished a stage in Dartmouth last year.

Transport councillor Robert Excell said: "I think it would be fantastic for the people of the Bay, especially the youngsters who can learn to ride a bike in safety off road.

"The off-road circuit can be used for all sorts of activities including rollerblading, and by wheelchairs and scooters.

"While people enjoy using the track they will also be improving their health which has to be good for the Bay.

"It will also be on the route of the new cycle links between Torquay and Brixham."

Mayor Gordon Oliver said: "Cycling has never been more important nationally and this is a really exciting project which would strengthen our cycling sporting offer to residents and visitors with a positive knock on effect for the local economy. But, of course, any decision would be subject to council approval."

Ken Robertson, South West general secretary of British Cycling, welcomed the progress on the scheme and said it would attract cyclists from all over the region as well as provide a valuable training facility for local riders.

He said: "There has to be a business plan so that it is not subsidised by the taxpayer. Like a swimming pool, people would have to pay to use it and book a slot.

"Competition would be a relatively low-level activity. It doesn't mean there will be floodlights all night and loud music."

Steve Parrock, chief executive of Torbay Development Agency, said: "Cycling in all its forms is already a very popular sport and Torbay has a great opportunity to take centre stage in the South West as the sport goes from strength to strength.

"A regional sporting centre of excellence in Torbay would provide a great facility for our residents and youth especially and also attract many visitors through national and regional events, which would benefit the wider economy."

A track complex would be run by an organisation or club and the income would repay the council's cost of the track.

The nearest similar facility is in Bournemouth.

It comes as cycling has been identified by the council as a potential attraction for tourists as well as a health booster for locals and an environmentally friendly form of transport.

Parkwood Leisure, which runs Torbay Leisure Centre, has registered an interest in running the circuit.

The council has already won £525,000 funding for a series of on and off-road cycle link improvements, a first class BMX circuit at Parkfield, and a bid has been made for a further £600,000 off road circuit linking Occombe Farm, Cockington and Compton Castle. The latest project will go to full council on February 6. It would need planning approval.

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9 comments

  • SidneyNuff  |  February 04 2013, 10:08AM

    That's funny bleach, when was the last time anyone said to their boss 'Don't pay me this week, it's not about money', the left get so sentimental sometimes, when it's not their money of course.

    Rate   -1
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  • Bleach  |  February 04 2013, 8:37AM

    - "Projected profit, that's a good one. What figure did our wonderfully realistic and totally honest local council project the profit was for the seriously loss making balloon." Last time I looked it wasn't the purpose of a council to make a profit. Life - at least my life, you don't appear to have one - is about much more than just money.

    Rate   -2
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  • zietz  |  February 03 2013, 6:53PM

    There are some things that don't float on a market economy, like health, wellbeing and inspiration . People who are judging this venture on a purely financial aspect are missing the point. Chapeau I say Torbay council, chapeau!

    Rate   7
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  • SidneyNuff  |  February 03 2013, 6:02PM

    Projected profit, that's a good one. What figure did our wonderfully realistic and totally honest local council project the profit was for the seriously loss making balloon.

    Rate   -4
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  • TorbayFan  |  February 03 2013, 4:44PM

    Thanks "mikelister66". £860 projected profit per year on an income of £115,960 (or 0.75%) and £860 on a capital investment of £1,560,000 (not even a fraction of a percent) is not a good business case. I'm surprised this has even got past the stage of discussing it over a pint in a bar.

    Rate   -1
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  • mikelister66  |  February 03 2013, 1:06PM

    You can find the actual business case on the council agenda for wednesday. Listed as item 10. http://tinyurl.com/arkrt3n

    Rate   4
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  • TorbayFan  |  February 02 2013, 1:32PM

    According to British Cycling there are 50,000 members spending an average of £230 per year on the sport. This is the total UK market for this velodrome. How many of the 50,000 are within travelling distance of Torbay and how much are they likely to spend? These are the questions needng to be answered if the project is to be financially successful. If we estimate 5,000 are within travelling distance and they may increase their spend by 5% ( the majority of the £230 is spent on clothing and cycle parts) that gives a total income of £57,500 per year. Interest on the council's £800,000 at 4% is £32,000, and there's still the small issue of maintenance; rates; running costs and taxes. Put in your own estimates if you don't like mine, but it seems like a risky proposition to me.

    Rate   4
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  • SidneyNuff  |  February 02 2013, 10:06AM

    A few gold medals and cycling seems to be flavour of the month. It does sound like a typical Torbay Council cut price scheme, put a roof on it and do it properly if you are going to build it. Still with the amount of hatchbacks being driven around the streets of Torbay by drug fuelled zombies I can't see road racing being an option for cycling. What will it look like in 10 years time with weeds growing through the cracks.

    Rate   -7
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  • Pingu007  |  February 02 2013, 8:03AM

    What a load. A minority sport (in terms of usage of the facility, rather than sitting watching it on tv) and I'm told it would be used almost exclusively by elite cycling clubs from all over the county, with Bay resident usage permitted for a couple of hours every other Tuesday (a slight exaggeration: but not much). And why should I pay for this? The funding is worded so that the Torbay Council tax-payer has to pick up the bill if costs are not met, and the fantasy income projections are not reached. Haven't we heard all this before? Parkfield anyone (not being used)? RICC (hasn't made any money. Ever. And has been handed out over £21 million - yes, £21 MILLION - in subsidies out of your and my pocket). If you want a legacy project, Mayor Oliver, do something that will benefit us in the Bay first. Don't saddle yourself with another white elephant that we will all curse you for for years to come.

    Rate   9
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