Work on Scotland’s first regional level purpose built cycle circuit, in Fife, will begin next week.
The 1.6km outdoor circuit, which will be built on land between Lochgelly High School and Lochore Meadows Country Park, will offer cycling opportunities in a traffic free environment to people of all ages and abilities.
Opening in early 2018, the facility will ensure clubs, groups and events have a top class facility to develop riders and run a wide range of community activities.
Cllr Judy Hamilton, Convener of the Council’s Community & Housing Services Committee explained:
“We are committed to meeting the growing demand to develop cycling in Fife and this is one of the ways in which we are doing just that. The project has gained national attention already from the country’s strong cycling community and Fife Cycle Park will be able to attract regional, Scottish and British Championship events.
“It’s about so much more than delivering something new for existing cyclists though. There are still lots of people unable to access or return to cycling as an activity for sport, leisure or utility. The programmes at Fife Cycle Park will help to break down the main barriers to cycling by offering a range of bikes and activities for every ability and age of the local population enabling them to develop their skills and confidence.
“Children need to learn to ride a bike. This facility will offer fun lessons from balance bikes for toddlers to school children developing their skills. With most nurseries now delivering balance bike projects, this is the natural home for the next steps.
“Investing in physical activity, sport and sustainable travel, at a time when the council is facing increasingly tough budget pressures, helps to contribute to our bigger long term goals. The Council has a responsibility to improve people’s access to sport and physical activity. The more we can do now to encourage people to be and stay active, as a preventative measure, the less the health-spend in the future.
“The project will also add another attraction to build on Fife’s position as the number one destination in Scotland for outdoor activities.”
Cllr Linda Erskine, Convener of the Cowdenbeath Area Committee is keen to emphasis the local opportunities that the facility will bring. She added:
“This circuit will put Lochgelly at the forefront of cycling in Scotland and give us the chance to develop a culture of cycling as a normal activity for residents in the area and across Fife.
“Coupled with the work to develop a climbing facility in Lochgelly and the investment in the mountain bike trails at Lochore Meadows, our local area will be in a strong position to promote itself as a destination venue for cycling and other leisure pursuits.
Lochore Meadows Country Park, which is also home to Fife’s Outdoor Education Centre, is already Fife’s most visited outdoor attraction and I look forward to us building on that further and attracting more visitors from across Scotland.”
Fife Cycle Park has secured funding contributions from sportscotland and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland said:
“sportscotland is delighted to work in partnership with Fife Council and Scottish Cycling to support this terrific facility. It brings together a number of initiatives for cycling and the local community, and is a great example of the world-class sporting system that we are developing in Scotland.
“Located next to the High School and adjacent to Lochore Meadows, the setting is ideal as it links to the existing cycling network and other community facilities. That’s why we were delighted to invest £300,000 in this project, which we believe will have a significant role to play in providing more and better sporting and physical activity opportunities, both locally and nationally.”
National governing bodies were quick to welcome the major milestone in the project too.
Craig Burn, Scottish Cycling Chief Executive said:
“Scottish Cycling is hugely excited to see ground broken today for the creation of the first regional level cycling facility in Scotland, The Fife Cycle Park. Closed road facilities are identified as a priority in Scottish Cycling’s Facilities Strategy for Cycling Development. They are fundamental in giving more opportunities for people to get on their bike and cycle in a safe environment.
“Having a closed road loop on their doorstep is going to make a huge difference to the communities and clubs in and around Lochgelly and Fife. It will be perfect for hosting training sessions and events which are suitable for all ages, as well as being an ideal location for coach development.
“With Lochore Meadows County Park not far for the circuit, Fife Council is continuing to grow its cycling hub for both on and off road riders, attracting cyclists from across Scotland.”
To keep up to date with the latest on Fife Cycle Park as the project develops, follow @VeloFife on Twitter, Cycling in Fife on Facebook or visit www.fifedirect.org.uk/cyclingcircuit.