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Road circuit dropped from Meadowbank replacement plans after objections

Edinburgh to get outdoor velodrome plus BMX and speedway tracks

Edinburgh City Council is set to approve plans for a cyclesport hub on the former Meadowbank velodrome with a new outdoor velodrome, speedway course and BMX track, but without the road cycling circuit that was part of some proposed options.

In October, the council asked for comments on four possible options for Hunter's Hall Park, to the south-east of the city centre. Cyclesport elements of the plans included an outdoor velodrome, cycle speedway track, BMX track and a road circuit.

After public consultation, the council has chosen an option without the road circuit because of concerns about loss of green space.

Alastair Maclean, the council’s head of corporate governance, told The Scotsman's Nash Riggins: “A mix of opinions was registered, including some specific concerns about the project. These included the potential loss of green space for the park.”

The chosen option will retain six outdoor sports pitches in the park, and two new 3G all-weather pitches will be created.

Richard Lewis, the city’s culture and sport leader, said he believed the cycling community would back the plans.

He said: “We’ve had overwhelming support for a cycling hub in Hunter’s Hall, with more than 90 per cent of people telling us new cycling facilities in the park would be welcome.

“We also know that cycling in Edinburgh is on the up, and that the overwhelming preference from the local community is for a cycling hub that encourages young people to enjoy learning cycling skills in a safe environment. Some local residents told us that they had concerns over the impact a cycling hub development might have on green space in the area. The proposed option that will be put to the council’s culture and sport committee for a decision aims to minimise that.”

Although the council had already ruled out an indoor velodrome on grounds of cost, European kilo champion Callum Skinner recently urged the council to reconsider, saying that an outdoor velodrome would be "unusable for at least a third of the year".

The unreliability of an outdoor velodrome disrupted both training and racing, Skiner said. He added: "Many of Edinburgh's track cycling community now seek cover 50 miles away at the indoor Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow.”

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 Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for 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 before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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