A symbolic start was made on Thursday on the £22 million Multisport Arena that will house Derby’s new velodrome just six months after the project was on the verge of being scrapped following a change of control in the city’s council.
The ground-breaking ceremony comes ahead of actual construction work beginning next Monday 26 November and accompanied the signing of a contract with Sport England which has pledged £3 million of funding via its Iconic Facilities Olympic and Paralympic legacy fund.
The future of the project had been thrown into doubt after a change of control at Derby City Council, with Labour, which had been against the plans while in opposition, looking as though it might pull the plug.
A campaign led by local cyclists helped persuade the council to continue its support for the project, however. Some contractual details relating to environmental issues still needed to be resolved.
However, in July, Bowmer & Kirkland were appointed to build the complex with Environmental Agency approval for the works on a former landfill site being secured the following month.
Richard Lewis, Chair of Sport England, commented: "There will be a fantastic sporting experience on offer for everyone at the Arena, from a world-class velodrome to a 12-court sports hall.
“No project has received a larger investment from our Olympic and Paralympic legacy fund and I’m confident this facility will be a source of pride for the region where local people will be inspired to develop a sporting habit for life."
Covering 14,500 square metres and located next to Derby County FC’s Pride Park Stadium, the complex includes a 250-metre track constructed to national standard, and there is also a 1.5-kilometre cycle circuit on the outside.
Ian Drake, Chief Executive of British Cycling, said: "It's fantastic news that work is about to start on the Derby velodrome.
“Cycling's sensational summer is inspiring thousands of people to get into the sport and this facility is part of the legacy from London hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“British Cycling is working closely with the council on the project, including an outdoor closed road circuit, to give people riding at all levels across the region a facility that they can be proud of."
The facility is due to open in November 2014 and even ahead of the project being given the go-ahead, cycling clubs from Derbyshire and further afield were queueing up to request booking slots on the track.
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.