Mountain bike park plans for disused golf course in Northampton gets backing from British Cycling

Park would be free for all to use and will cost £500,000

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 12:43 pm
Library picture

Councillors are set to discuss whether to support a £500,000 project to convert a disused golf course in Northampton into a mountain bike park which would be free for all to use.

The Hardingstone 9 Bike Park project will be on the agenda at the Northampton Borough Council Cabinet meeting, tonight, Wednesday March 24.

The project, which has an estimated cost of £500,000, has been successful in the first stage of an application to British Cycling’s Places to Ride programme.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A report to cabinet members, recommends they support the project including the acceptance of the Places to Ride application.

It also recommends cabinet delegates authority to appoint and enter into a contract with a successful contractor to convert the disused Hardingstone nine hole golf course into a mountain bike centre and general outdoor facility following completion of the tender process.

The land is currently leased to Delapre Golf Club and negotiations to release the area are ongoing and subject to contract and approval by West Northamptonshire Council.

The report background states there is a clear need for health and wellbeing facilities within Northampton.

It goes on to state: ‘A dedicated mountain biking facility is an excellent way to meet these needs and also addresses the issue of the lack of purpose-built, free facilities for either road or off-road cycling disciplines.

‘A designated area for the growing number of off-road riders is required in the area with British Cycling having the Oxfordshire/Northamptonshire area identified as a strategic priority for cycling facility development and where the proposed facility would help meet this need.

‘The current closest similar facilities are the mountain bike centres provided by forestry agencies such as the Forest of Dean, Coed-y-Brenin(north Wales and Cannock Chase(West Mids) which provide excellent free to ride facilities and

‘Northamptonshire riders are frequent visitors. However the nearest of these is almost two house away by car.’

Located less than two kilometres from the town centre providing good accessibility, the proposed facility will offer inclusive mountain biking for all ages and abilities.

British Cycling and Sport England aim to develop a national network of new cycling facilities which meets local demand making use of a £15m investment programme from the Department of Culture Media and Sport called Places to Ride.

The council has committed match funding to the project of £250,000 with a funding bid of £250,000 to the Places to Ride scheme.

The council worked closely with its funding partner Northamptonshire Sport, a partnership of local and national organisations, and a volunteer team to develop an initial stage one application. This was successfully submitted in November. A stage two application was submitted in January with the outcome expected by the end of this month.

The report states the bike park tracks have been designed up a ‘Macro’ level using a professional trail building company which has formed the basis of the bid submission.

The next stage of more detailed designs and specification is being completed using a specialist bike park contractor ahead of the tender pack being prepared for the works.

It is expected a tender pack including design work will be tendered next month with contractor appointment scheduled for June, subject to approval, and building work to start in July. The park could be completed by January next year.