Bristol 'crossgate: Council now working with CX organisers
Craig Denning from Dream Cycling reports Council onside with finding suitable venues
Good news people! We've just been talking to Craig Denning from Dream Cycles, the chap who originally filled us in about the de facto ban on cyclocross at Bristol Council sites. He's been meeting Council officials today and they're going to work together to find suitable venues in the city.
"It's been a mad couple of days," Craig told us. "I've been on local radio [here] and the phone's barely stopped ringing. But the upshot is that I've been in a meeting with four of the councillors today and they've agreed to work to find venues in the city where the races can take place. So in the next couple of months they'll suggest some venues and I'll go and have a look to see if we can set up courses on them"
This is great news, and a long way from the council's stated 'two-and-a-half grand or you can't play on the grass' position that was in their written statement to the BBC Bristol Breakfast Show which Craig, and Anthony de Heveningham of Bristol Trals Group, contributed to this morning. In terms of sustainability of the sport it might even end up being a better solution than the previous one, in that i'll be incumbent on the Council to make a more studied assessment of the likely damage a CX race would cause to a given location, giving organisers a stronger position come the application for licenses.
Craig suggested that the Western League races this winter are still likely to be affected, although possibly not cancelled. "The Council pretty much conceded that Hengrove was one of the better suited sites for cyclocross, but it's two late for our race this Sunday which has been switched to Gloucester. There's another round scheduled for Oldbury Court [on 16 December] but since that's more of an ornamental park [it's grade II listed parkland] that's probably going to need to move," he said. It's hard to see how the council could have much objection to using a corner of the expansive Ashton Court estate, though, and there's plenty of other council-owned open spaces in Bristol that are large and not particularly busy in the winter.
Anyway, the future of cyclocross in Bristol seems in a better state than it was yesterday, and that's thanks to everyone that's called on the Council to look at their decision making over this. Keep up the pressure, and we'll report when we hear more about the new arrangements.