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Eastway Cyclists struggle with the ODA planners

Below is the press release from the official governing body of our sport... Reading between the long, wordy, lines, it seems that British Cycling are now realising what the Eastway Users' Group has been telling them all along; that the plans for the new velodrome didn't show good enough facilities for a road or a mountain bike circuit. And without the bulldozing of these circuits, there wouldn't be any Olympic Park at all...

The Board of British Cycling met on Saturday 9 June to continue its ongoing consideration of the 'legacy facilities' which are currently proposed for the sport following the London Olympic Games. Disappointment was expressed that, despite the advice and support offered over the last several months to the Olympic Delivery Authority, and the assurances received from that body in return, there was still insufficient evidence of appropriate changes being made to the outline Legacy proposals, to allow the Board to consider those proposals to be acceptable.

The Board is happy with the siting, layout and basic specifications of the proposed velodrome and BMX track, both of which are to be used for Olympic competition. The Board also considers the proposals for a legacy Cycle Speedway facility to be acceptable. However from the Board's point of view the basic problem remains that there is insufficient space allocated in the current plans within the proposed Olympic Park to permit adequate provision for the road and off-road competition and training.

The Board has to consider both the adequacy of the Olympic competition facilities (which are progressing satisfactorily) and also the planned provision of cycling facilities after the Games (which currently are not satisfactory). The Board has always been very concerned to ensure that the promises that have been made in relation to the provision of adequate road racing and off road facilities after the Games will be honoured. Over months now we have been constantly reminding the ODA of its responsibilities.

Cycle sport has a unique relationship to the Games of 2012, one that cannot be claimed by any other sport. First we are one of the most successful Olympic sports in terms of medals won. Cycling stands, with a small number of other Sports, head and shoulders above the rest in terms of recent Olympic success. The real difference however, and what sets cycling apart, is that cycling also has an historic association with the venue that is to be transformed for Olympic and post Olympic use. Quite simply the 2012 Games would not be possible without the acquisition of the former Eastway site with the consequence that London cyclists are currently without a facility that has served them well for over 30 years.

Nor is the issue just a London problem, the Board recognise that Eastway had wider national significance and formed an important part of the nation's cycling facilities network. The Board need to guard against a situation in which cyclists who want to practice road racing and MTB Cross-Country in London are left worse off after the Games than they were before them. The two disciplines of Road Racing and MTB Cross-Country in particular represent a large and thriving element of the sport and until they are adequately catered for in the Legacy plan, British Cycling cannot endorse the Legacy proposals.

Having considered the views of members and officials of the three Regions of British Cycling with responsibility for managing and developing the sport in London and the South East, and having taken further advice from the Chief Executive and his staff, as well as from our legal advisers, the Board has agreed what it believes to be the most appropriate and effective way for it to register its concerns.

The Board has resolved firstly to register its objections in respect of the Legacy provisions directly at the highest level with the Olympic Delivery Authority with whom we have been working to achieve the right outcome. These 'cycling project sponsors' need to understand that the Board, the Regions and the user groups all share the same concern with what is being proposed as the Legacy 'Velo Park' and in the Board's view they will need to address fundamental changes to the Legacy Masterplan in order to achieve an acceptable outcome.

Secondly, in respect of the current planning applications, that British Cycling will make a formal objection to the ODA Planning Decisions Team including a "Request for Conditions to be Imposed" on the relevant application. This will state the case for the Legacy cycling facilities to include a proper Road circuit that can be fairly described as a replacement for what has been lost, and for an off-road competition facility that genuinely provides for racing at the level previously carried out at Eastway.

As part of the objection that will be made to the Planning Decisions Team, we will request that any permissions that are granted in respect of the applications that have currently been made will include conditions designed to secure replacement facilities for what has been given up at Eastway.

These requested conditions will cover the adequacy of the Road and Mountain Bike facilities in the light of previous promises and commitments made by the ODA and others and specifically in light of the conditions that had previously been attached to the Olympic Planning consents that were granted in 2004 during the Olympic bidding phase. The detailed wording will be agreed with our legal and technical advisers in time to make a formal submission by the 15 June deadline.

British Cycling President Brian Cookson said:

"British Cycling is very pleased to be playing a key role in the design of the Olympic Park and we are committed to helping the ODA deliver outstanding Olympic facilities for our sport. However we are very disappointed at the failure by the ODA to make sufficient clear movement towards meeting our legitimate concerns regarding the legacy provision, concerns which we have been expressing to them for some time now. We will also be raising our concerns at the highest level with other relevant bodies and agencies involved in the delivery and legacy provision of the London 2012 Olympics."

From: From Olympic Legacy - British Cycling Board confirms stance against Legacy Masterplan, Singletrack Magazine, Mon 11 june

One of the Singletrack comments says:

by: plurien on: Thursday 14 June 2007 , The consultation for the applications being made closes on 15th June. The plans show NO MOUNTAINBIKE COMPETITION FACILITY AT ALL.

Points you may wish to raise in objection:

  • There has been no consultation, no attempt made to identify the needs of the cycling community based at Eastway.
  • The plans are not suitable for cycle sport outdoors
  • There is no off-road competition permitted within the constraints of the scheme applied for, so there can be no guarantee or planning condition made for it unless the scheme is rejected
  • The road circuit is unsafe and does not allow for large fields to circulate
  • Its layout is uninspiring, being pushed right against the A12 in the shadow of a large building
  • The facility is cut in two by the A12 which brings noise and air pollution
  • There is no possibility of safe concurrent running of road and off-road sessions of any kind
  • The area made available for a legacy replacement is unsuitably small and in a marginal position
  • No amount of ‘design’ prior to a subsequent detailed application for legacy can alleviate the absence of land area being made available in the outline application for the cycling facility in legacy phase
  • Users were made promises and given numerous assurances about the vailidity of a legacy before they willingly gave up their facility to make way for the Games.

The scheme now applied for in no way matches those schemes that were outlined and does not even come close to replacing the road and off-road cycling which made Eastway so successful as the base of a thriving community of people doing Olympic sports in Inner East London.

From Olympic Legacy - British Cycling Board confirms stance against Legacy Masterplan, Singletrack Magazine, Mon 11 june

More at: Singletrackworld

For more recent information go to: ODA and Eastway Users Group Correspondence

See also: Cycling nowhere

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