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Olympic facility not all it's cracked up to be

The following statement is from the Eastway Users Group July 2005
Eastway is to close as early as 2007 for Olympic Park development. Next season will be the last on the 53 acre site that offers a mile of closed road circuit and some great off-road riding.

The London Development Agency based its 2012 bid on taking London’s most flexible facility devoted to cycle sport. The site is designated Metropolitan Open Land for its value as a sporting venue. Use for development is absolutely exceptional. Eastway Users Group achieved planning conditions on continued provision for cycle sport and its return to the site after the Games. The Group’s mission statement remains:

To campaign for the New Eastway to have improved facilities for all disciplines of cycle-sport (including infrastructure such as club and changing rooms, car parks etc) without any facilities being lost during the construction phases.

The developers have had ample opportunity to let us know where the replacement facilities are to be. We have been in negotiation with the LDA since December 2003. It has not even let us know when it will tell us about replacement facilities and it seems reluctant to set a date for a meeting. We have to conclude that cycle sport is not the LDA’s priority, despite promises its executive director made to smooth the planning approval from local boroughs.

The Olympic bid was made on the strength of its sporting and cultural legacy for Londoners. London desperately needs to solve its transport problems. Assembly members claim the intention of engaging more young people in sporting endeavour. Cycling is the most popular outdoor activity for adults and children alike (source: Sport England surveys 2003 & 2004). Youth sport riders cannot compete on the roads and they cannot even ride for fun in public parks. So far, the Games simply amount to a loss for cycling in London.

We know the Olympic disciplines of road and cross-country mountain bike will no longer have the use of a premium facility so close to London. The 2012 venues are not available after the Games either, so no legacy for cycle sport will follow. £22m plans for a so-called VeloPark‚ have been withdrawn and were only ever inadequate at best. Herne Hill velodrome, an earlier Olympic legacy is closed. Other London facilities and are under permanent threat of even more restricted use for sport.

Do you want a public meeting? – info@londonccylesport.com

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