Olympic BMX rider Shanaze Reade has been joined by pupils from a Manchester school at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new £24 million, 11,000 square foot National Indoor BMX Centre, which will boast the world’s first purpose-built indoor BMX track.
Reade, who fell in the final at Beijing as she tried to chase down gold medal winner Anne-Caroline Chausson of France, and who has won World Championships in BMX and on the track, where she has partnered Victoria Pendleton in the Team Sprint, was joined by children from Ashbury Meadow Community School, Beswick, east Manchester, at the site of the new facility, close to the Velodrome in Manchester’s Sportscity.
Together with the Velodrome, the National Indoor BMX Centre, which will include a 2,000-seat arena, will comprise the National Cycling Centre, which will also include offices that will serve as the headquarters of British Cycling.
Reade is enthusiastic about the new centre, saying: “Having the National Indoor BMX Centre in east Manchester, right on my doorstep, is fantastic. I can’t wait to train here to try and get a gold medal at London 2012. I also really hope it encourages more local kids to take up the sport.”
Ian Drake, British Cycling’s Chief Executive, also welcomed the new complex. "Today brings us a step closer to the completion of the BMC centre which will be a fantastic training and competition facility for British Cycling and aid the GB Cycling Team’s preparations for London 2012,” he said.
“As a community facility, the centre will also offer local young people and adults an opportunity to train alongside British BMX stars, inspiring future generations of riders and growing the discipline at the grass roots. We also look forward to the opening of a new purpose-built British Cycling office when the project is complete in 2011,” he continued.
Eddie Smith, Chief Executive of New East Manchester said: "East Manchester is the home of British Cycling and this scheme will take this partnership to a new level. The National Indoor BMX Centre will sit beside the Manchester Velodrome and a new velopark offering facilities for all cycling disciplines for both elite athletes and the community. Employing over 160 people, this new complex will add to the range of world class sporting facilities we have at Sportcity.”
The £24 million cost of the new complex is being met in part by investment from Manchester City Council, which has contributed £8.55 million and the Northwest Regional Development Agency, which has provided £8 million, as well as £3 million from Sport England. The remaining £5million, jointly funded by the Homes and Communities Agency and the European Regional Development Fund, will go towards public spaces including new cycleways and footpaths that will link the complex to existing facilities on the site. The facility, which was designed by Eliis Williams Architects and is to be built by contractors Sir Robert McAlpine, is expected to be completed in April 2011.
According to Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the North West Development Agency, the new facility will benefit the local community as well as elite athletes. “Sportcity forms a core element of regeneration activity in East Manchester,” said Mr Broomhead, “delivering not only physical but also economic and social change. The new BMX arena will further enhance the city’s profile as a centre of sporting excellence, providing the type of world-class facilities and elite athletes that attracts wider investment.
“It is excellent that work has begun and that we can announce new investment which will support a range of developments that will generate employment, reinforce the role of sporting activity as an economic driver for the area, enhance the leisure and tourism offer of Manchester and serve to further raise the area’s profile,” he added.
His remarks were echoed by Charles Johnston, Sport England’s Property Director, who said: “The BMX Centre will bring high-quality sporting opportunities to both elite riders and the community, helping us deliver a lasting Olympic and Paralympic legacy of increased participation. The plans have the firm support of British Cycling, which will use the facilities to identify and nurture the next generation of BMX stars. To secure investment from our Sustainable Facilities Fund, this project has demonstrated that it will meet local sporting needs and safeguard long-term sports provision.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.