British bike parts maker Hope Technology has scrapped the idea of building a a velodrome behind its Barnoldswick factory - but hatched a plan for an even bigger and better track on a completely new site instead.
According to Pendle Today's Will Cook, Hope recently bought a derelict plot, previously the site of Fernbank Mill, for £1.5 million, and will submit plans to Pendle Council for a £4.5m. research and development centre and 250m Olympic length track by the end of the year.
The plan is to build out the facility in stages, Hope co-owner Ian Weatherill said, with an initial 133m track, then a full-size loop.
He said the original idea had been shelved for environmental and space reasons.
"The original plan was to put it round the back of the factory, but it isn't really suitable. It's a conservation area and it's a woodland area.
"It's not perfect and we'd have only been able to get a 200m track in it. It would have been a tight fit; from a structural engineering point of view it's quite difficult."
The new site is brownfield, so there shouldn't be any planning issues, and it's the perfect size for a full 250m track, he said.
Weatherill hopes the track might one day be used for elite racing and even an Hour Record attempt.
"It'd be feasible that someone could set the world hour record on our track. It's getting track time that's difficult, as in Manchester [where] it's a year's waiting list."
But Hour Records are at least a couple of years off as Hope wants to build the track without getting into debt.
“Because we are funding it ourselves and not borrowing any money, the idea is to build it in two stages; a third of the building at first with the research and development centre and a 133m track.
“We are expanding into carbon fibre components and the research centre would be downstairs and the track upstairs.
“We would organise something so that the track could still be used by local clubs when its not in use for testing by us.
“One of the best tracks in Britain is in Southampton and that is 145m long.
“The great thing about this site is there is much more room.
“The access is good, it’s a brownfield site, there is much more room for car parking and the building will block out the noise from the cement works.
“In principle, planners have been positive about it and if approved, we could get straight on with it next year.”
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.