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Velodrome cycling campaigners announce petition handover after 6,000 people back bid

Birmingham | Commonwealth Games | Published:

More than 6,000 people have signed a petition demanding a new velodrome is built as a legacy for the Birmingham's Commonwealth Games.

Could a velodrome be built in the West Midlands as a legacy of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games?

Campaign leaders are preparing to hand over the petition to Birmingham City Council leader, Councillor Ian Ward, on April 15.

Halesowen Cycling Club chairman David Viner has helped lead the bid calling for the indoor track as a base for the riders of the future.

It was announced that track cycling events for the Commonwealth Games would be hosted 130 miles away, at the Lea Valley Velodrome in London.

The decision was the subject of some debate toward the end of last year, with the Birmingham 2022 team claiming that a West Midlands velodrome was ruled out by a feasibility study which was subsequently found not to exist.

It has since been revealed that a new competition velodrome was ruled out for a number of reasons including finances, demand and timescale.

However, this has not stopped cycling campaigners calling for a training velodrome to be constructed instead, to encourage grassroots cycling across the region.

The petition has so far gained more than 6,000 signatures, with high-profile figures including Wolverhampton World Cycling Champion Hugh Porter backing the campaign.

Mr Viner said: "The Commonwealth Games are going to be a superb opportunity for Birmingham and the West Midlands but it is such a shame that the track cycling is to be held in London.

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“The new aquatics centre in Sandwell with 5,000 seats for the Games and retaining just 1,000 seats afterwards is a perfect example of how a competition velodrome arena, costing £35m, with a similar seating plan could have been built for 2022.

“Councillor Ward has an open mind and has engaged with us.

"Now we hope the feasibility plan will prove there is a strong case for a modest training and development velodrome arena, with room in the track centre for multi-community based sports including disabled and sight impaired sports.

“I think it is important that our campaign is viewed as working with Birmingham City Council to get a velodrome and get a great legacy."

By Tom Dare, Local Democracy Reporter

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