Welsh Assembly considers bid for Rhyl cycle track

Memorial to four killed in 2006 crash will be incorporated into design

by Tom Henry   February 18, 2010  

rhyl track.jpg

The father of a teenager killed in Britain's worst cycling accident will today (Thursday) join a funding bid for a purpose-built practice track in Rhyl.

Jonathan Harland lost his son Thomas, 14, when he and three other riders were hit by a car driver on the A547 in January 2006.

Today he will stand alongside Glanmorfa Cycling Association (GCA), which is made up of cycling and athletics clubs, and ask for £500,000 strategic regeneration funding from Denbighshire County Council and the Welsh Assembly Government.

GCA hope to develop the facility in Rhyl which will include a 1.2km (0.75 mile) road track, a national standard BMX track, as well as a clubhouse and changing room facilities.

The scheme, on an old landfill site, would incorporate some kind of memorial element to Thomas Harland, Maurice Broadbent, 61, Dave Horrocks, 55, and Wayne Wilkes, 42, who died near Abergele, Conwy.

The group says it has already secured £500,000 funding, which includes £250,000 from the World Renewable Energy Network.

If successful, the group hopes to establish a not-for-profit organisation to run the centre, which is currently called Marsh Tracks.

Paul Rutt, who is also making a presentation, said the centre could be used for a number of different sports in addition to cycling.

He told the BBC: "It's a great opportunity to bring some safe cycling the community of Rhyl and beyond. It would be fitting tribute to those who have worked so tirelessly over the years to secure such a facility."

Last month, road.cc reported that Mr Broadbent's widow, Sue, fully supported plans for the new track. She said: “As a family we are very supportive of the plans. Maurice loved cycling and was pushing for years for something like this as there is nothing like it in this area. He was keen to see cycling opportunities for youngsters in particular and we believe this will help do that, with many children keen to get involved.

“We have remembered Maurice and the anniversary this week. But you have to go forward and Maurice would have encouraged us to do that.”

On the day of the crash the road had not been gritted, despite warnings about icy conditions in the area. The driver, Robert Harris, from Abergele, was fined by magistrates for having defective tyres.

Ruling out accidental death after a three-week inquest, a jury later returned a narrative verdict, criticising Robert Harris's driving and highlighting communication failures over road gritting between the police, Conwy and Denbighshire councils.