Sir Chris Hoy, who has campaigned for Edinburgh’s historic Meadowbank Velodrome to be saved, has welcomed plans for a new track to be built at Craigmillar, a couple of miles to the southeast, as part of a larger ‘cycling hub’ for the city.
Plans unveiled yesterday by City of Edinburgh Council include a concrete outdoor velodrome at Hunters Hall Park, which will also have a 1-kilometre road circuit, and a BMX track may be added in the future.
The proposals form part of a £1.2 million investment unveiled in upgrading sports facilities in the Scottish capital. Funding will be sought from Sport Scotland and other bodies.
Detailed plans, costs and timings will be drawn up in partnership with stakeholders, says the council.
Last summer, Hoy who became Britain’s most successful Olympian last summer when he won gold in the team sprint and keirin in London to add to his existing tally of four.
Commenting on the proposals, he said: “I’m delighted to hear that a new velodrome and road circuit are being built in my home city of Edinburgh, and very pleased to hear that the council is investing in local sports facilities and in cycling in particular, to provide decent access and facilities for people wanting to get in to the sport.
“This is great news for Edinburgh and for the future of Scottish sport.”
Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture & Sport Convener at City of Edinburgh Council, said: "In line with our Capital Coalition pledge, we are committing substantial funding towards improving Edinburgh's sporting infrastructure, particularly in relation to cycling.
"The phenomenal success enjoyed by Sir Chris Hoy has acted as an inspiration to many and interest in cycling is at all time high.
"We have already allocated 6% of our transport budget to cycling improvements across the city but, through this investment, we want to encourage and support competitive cycling as well.
"While these plans are at a very early stage, our vision is to create a cycling hub which will be accessible all year round by cyclists of all ages and abilities.
"This is an investment in Edinburgh's sporting future but also in the continued regeneration of Craigmillar."
In September last year, Hoy told the Edinburgh Evening News: “I would like to see Meadowbank saved.”
The six-time Olympic champion, who started his track career there, said: “From a personal point of view it means a lot to me but I think for the sport and for Edinburgh, it would be a shame to see a facility of Meadowbank’s stature and history [disappear].
“I think it would be fantastic to keep that going, to refurbish it and maybe pop a roof over it.
“I really do hope that something is done, even if it’s not at Meadowbank but somewhere in Edinburgh.
“It doesn’t have to be a massive multi-million pound facility like in Glasgow [whose new velodrome bears his name] but somewhere you can ride indoors where kids can try the track and get involved in cycling.
“It would be a shame to see Edinburgh lose that reputation as being one of the great track cycling cities.”
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.