Main contract awarded on £10 million project

A £10 million velodrome and cycling park near Gravesend has moved nearer to becoming reality after the construction contract to build it was awarded this week.

Construction contractor VolkerFitzpatrick, which is one of the biggest building companies in the south east, will start work on the project, called Cyclopark, in the new year on a site adjacent to the A2 between Dartford and Gravesend after being selected from five applicants.

The facility, which will take ten months to build and hopes to attract 100,000 cyclists a year, should also feature a Jamie Staff Academy which the Olympic gold medal track cyclist plans to launch.

British Cycling’s chief executive officer Ian Drake, quoted on the Dartford Times website, said: “The plans for the Cyclopark venue look fantastic. It is a perfect example of the continued efforts we are making, together with Sport England, to create excellent modern cycling facilities across the UK.

“The new velopark here will offer people of all ages and abilities an opportunity to enjoy cycling in a safe, controlled and traffic free environment, supporting the growth of our sport at the grassroots and helping us develop future cycling stars.”

Although last year there were fears that some aspects of the Cyclopark might have to be scaled back as a result of difficulties in securing funding, Kent County Council is now meeting most of the cost of the project, contributing £7 million. The balance of finance for the £9.7 million total is due to be provided by Sport England, the Colyer-Fergusson Trust, British Cycling and the Homes and Communities Agency.

David Brazier, Kent County Council deputy cabinet member for environment, highways and waste and the council’s member cycling champion, commented: “I’m delighted to be able to say that the construction of Cyclopark will soon be underway and even happier to announce VolkerFitzpatrick as contractor. They have a long and successful history with particular reference to similar projects in the south-east.”

Diyal Nonis, contracts manager for VolkerFitzpatrick, added: “This is a really exciting project not only for Kent, but also for the south-east of England.”

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.