Plans to develop outdoor cycling tracks and create one of Europe’s best cycling facilities at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the Olympic Games look set to become a reality after planning permission for a rejigged design was approved by Hackney Council.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company applied to amend the original layout for the circuit in December last year in order to provide better public access to riverbanks and other facilities at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
A one mile road cycle circuit and around 8km of mountain bike trails around the existing Velodrome will be built after the games to create the Lee Valley VeloPark in the north of the Park.
Designs for the VeloPark were agreed by British Cycling, Sport England, Hackney Council and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority – who will own and operate Lee Valley VeloPark after the Games – while closely consulting with users including Eastway cyclists.
The road cycle circuit, which replaces the old Eastway Cycle Circuit (hence consultation with users of the former circuit), features a series of loops to the west of the Velodrome and a large single loop to the east of the venue. The road cycle circuit will also cross the River Lea in two places and be framed in the south by wetlands, park spaces and tow-paths for walkers and cyclists to enjoy.
The circuit is engineered to provide a variety of right and left turns, straights, rises and falls along its route. It has been laid out so several shorter sections of the track can also be used, while the circuit can be lit to enable night-time use and competition.
The mountain bike trails form a loop which runs from the north-east corner of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, past the Velodrome and heads north under the A12 to East Marsh. From there it runs eastwards through Eton Manor and then back under the A12. East Marsh and Eton Manor are names that have been given to areas of the Olympic Park site and complex.
In total, the trails will stretch for around 8km with three different sections rated as easy, intermediate and difficult. There will also be a skills training area with jumps, grade reversals and level changes.
The Olympic Games BMX track in the north-east of the Park after the Games will also be regraded to a public use course.
The new park space will sit to the south of the cycle circuit and to the west of the River Lea. Plans for the green space were created after the Legacy Company revised an earlier planning application to realign the circuit to create the community space.
A visitor centre and large-scale playground is also planned for the north park, to the south of the cycle circuit, while the plans provide for a pedestrian path connecting the Velodrome to Waltham Forest in the north.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company aims to complete the VeloPark by the end of 2013.
Andrew Altman, chief executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, welcomed the agreement between all parties to make the Lea Valley VeloPark a reality.
“Lee Valley VeloPark will be a stunning addition in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for everyone to enjoy. By working closely with our partners we have planned an even better legacy that will not only benefit cyclists, but also thousands people from across East London who will be connected through a new park space.”
Ian Drake, Chief Executive of British Cycling, said British Cycling was delighted that all the hard work that had gone into developing the VeloPark plans has paid off.
“Together with the recent MOU signed between British Cycling and the London, Manchester and Glasgow velodromes there is now a clear legacy from 2012 which will benefit cycling for many years to come and ensure more people can take to their bikes in top class facilities.”