Financial support means bright future ahead for Caird Park velodrome

Posted: 09 February 2012

 The velodrome at Caird Park is set for a major upgrade thanks to an investment of over £300,000 by Dundee City Council and sportscotland.

The improvement would open the door for a new charity, Caird Park Velodrome, to take over the running of the facility to promote cycling in the city.

The velodrome has fallen into disrepair because of a lack of money to pay for its running costs, and for a long time the city council has struggled to secure the funds for its upkeep.

Negotiations were started with cycling groups to investigate whether a leasing arrangement with a new charitable organisation might be a way to give the 402-metre oval a better future.

In August 2010 the city council and Scottish Cycling submitted a bid to sportscotland, the national agency for sport, for financial support for the project but were told there would be no quick decision as the application would have to go through stages.

Next week the council's environment committee will hear that the bid has been successful, with the Caird Park cycling track identified for upgrading to its surface, drainage and lighting.

Work would cost up to £305,000, which could be met from the environment department's capital plan for this financial year and a sportscotland grant of £90,650.

Councillor Bob Duncan, convener of the environment committee, said: ''Cycling is a very popular sport in Dundee and clubs are producing top-class competitors.

''We have been acutely aware that the Caird Park velodrome has been needing work carried out to it, and we are extremely grateful for this grant from sportscotland. This is yet another improvement to sports facilities across Dundee which is about encouraging participation for the people of the city.

''New pitches have been installed at DISC and work is now well under way on both the new Olympia and the Dick McTaggart regional gymnastics centre. Improvement work at the velodrome would be a real boost to the hard work that our cyclists are putting in to their sport.''

Martin Harris, secretary of Discovery Junior Cycling Club, said he was delighted that progress had been made in securing funding for the track's improvement.

He said: ''We are still very much in discussion with the council about forming a charitable body called Caird Park Velodrome to take over the running of the site, and have a meeting with them next week to talk about a lease.

''The idea is that we would run it as a facility that would be open for longer to schools, organisations and anyone with an interest in cycling.

''As a charity we would have access to more sources of revenue than the council can access and we can operate the facility in a more economical way with lower charges to cyclists.

''The funding from the city council and sportscotland is very welcome, and with it we can promote cycling in a much better way in Dundee. The velodrome will be a good facility in which we can run more events, coaching sessions and give more opportunities for people to become involved in the sport.''

The Discovery Club has about 50 members under the age of 16.