LEGACY COMPANY PLANS APPROVED FOR WORLD CLASS VELOPARK

One of Europe’s best cycling facilities will be created on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after plans to develop outdoor tracks were approved last night.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company will build a one mile road cycle circuit and around 8km of mountain bike trails around the existing Velodrome to create Lee Valley VeloPark in the north of the Park.

The road cycle circuit will cross the River Lea in two places and be framed in the south by wetlands, park spaces and tow-paths for walkers and cyclists to enjoy.

The Legacy Company applied to amend the original layout for the circuit in December last year in order to provide better public access to riverbanks as well as creating a new park for Hackney, which will bring people together through small scale events.

The designs were agreed by British Cycling, Sport England, Hackney Council and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority – who will own and operate Lee Valley VeloPark after the Games – while closely consulting with users including Eastway cyclists.

The Legacy Company aims to complete the VeloPark by the end of 2013.

Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said:

“Lee Valley VeloPark will be a stunning addition in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for everyone to enjoy. By working closely with our partners we have planned an even better legacy that will not only benefit cyclists, but also thousands people from across East London who will be connected through a new park space.

“It is because our legacy plans for the Park are more advanced than any previous host city that we have been able to make improvements that will complement our more recent designs for new neighbourhoods and open spaces.”

Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, said:

“We are pleased that a plan has been approved which will deliver a world-class VeloPark and also fulfil the commitment to create high quality, coherent parkland for use by all of the communities of Hackney and the Host Boroughs.

“The scheme will allow Hackney residents continuous access to the banks of the River Lea for the first time, connect the Olympic Park to Hackney Marshes and provide exciting green spaces for our communities to come together and enjoy.”

Ian Drake, Chief Executive of British Cycling, said:

“This is fantastic news and we are delighted that all the hard work that has gone into developing these plans has paid off. Together with the recent MOU signed between British Cycling and the London, Manchester and Glasgow velodromes there is now a clear legacy from 2012 which will benefit cycling for many years to come and ensure more people can take to their bikes in top class facilities.”

Shaun Dawson, Chief Executive of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, said:

“We are delighted with this decision – a crucial step to making Lee Valley VeloPark the best cycling venue in the world.

“This scheme will create world-class cycling facilities for everyone to enjoy. The exciting and flexible design has been created involving a number of organisations including, crucially, the cycling community and British Cycling, and the National Governing Body for cycling in the UK.”

Richard Lewis, Chair of Sport England, said:

“It is fantastic that all those inspired by next year’s Games will be able to get back on their bikes and access the first-class facilities on offer at Lee Valley VeloPark, including the outdoor tracks. From budding track cyclists, BMX riders and families who want a day out on their bikes, the VeloPark will ensure a lasting participation legacy beyond London 2012.”

The road cycle circuit, which replaces the old Eastway Cycle Circuit, features a series of loops to the west of the Velodrome and a large single loop to the east of the venue.

The circuit is engineered to provide a variety of right and left turns, straights, rises and falls along its route. It has been laid out so several shorter sections of the track can also be used, while the circuit can be lit to enable night-time use and competition.

The mountain bike trails form a loop which runs from the north-east corner of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, past the Velodrome and heads north under the A12 to East Marsh. From there it runs eastwards through Eton Manor and then back under the A12.

In total, the trails will stretch for around 8km, although cyclists will be able to pit their skills on three different sections rated as easy, intermediate and difficult. There will also be a skills training area with jumps, grade reversals and level changes.

The Legacy Company will also regrade the Games-time BMX track in the north-east of the Park after the Games to complete the package of public outdoor facilities.

The plans also provide a pedestrian path connecting the Velodrome to Waltham Forest in the north.

The new park space will sit to the south of the cycle circuit and to the west of the River Lea. Plans for the green space were created after the Legacy Company revised an earlier planning application to realign the circuit to create the community space.

A visitor centre and large-scale playground is also planned for the north park, to the south of the cycle circuit. The Legacy Company ran a competition for architectural firms to design the facilities.