Plans approved to build 'specialist' mountain bike park on former Northampton golf course
"The lasting legacy of this project will be one of community, a mountain bike community where riders inspire each other to improve and progress"
Plans have been approved to build a 'specialist' mountain bike park on a former golf course in Northampton - with work set to begin in spring 2022.
West Northamptonshire Council has approved plans to build the cycle track on the former nine-hole Hardingstone golf course on land south of Delapre Golf Club, a 16 hectare site that has been out of use for six years.
The free-for-all bike park will comprise of a 'duel track' that would allow for head to head racing, a 'skills area' for bikers to improve technique and tricks, and a red trail for advanced riders, blue for intermediate, and green for beginners, according to the plans.
The initiative was sparked three years ago by Northampton resident and bike enthusiast Tony Skirrow, who urged the council to take advantage of British Cycling Places to ride fund.
Tony previously said: "We believe that with this facility Northampton can offer inclusive off-road biking for all ages and abilities; offering a start for those with an initial interest, and inspiration to those looking to progress to the highest level.
"This project will provide a designated off road cycling area enabling all ages and all levels to learn, progress and hone their skills.
"The lasting legacy of this project will be one of community, a mountain bike community where riders inspire each other to improve and progress to the best of their ability regardless of background. A community that looks out for each other and the facility that brings them together."
The layout of the bike trails have been designed in conjunction with a specialist bike park designer.
WNC said in planning papers: "The proposed bike trails have been designed to aid progression of all age users and abilities on the single site from balance bikes and four-wheel riders to intermediate and advanced riders.
"The proposal would support access to and the use of the site for sport and recreation, with associated health, well-being and community benefits."
Leader of the council, Jonathan Nunn previously said the site would 'provide a much-needed facility for bikers of all ages and abilities to showcase and develop their talents'.
"We believe the park will be of great benefit to the local community as it adds to Northampton’s recreational offering and provides another outlet for the town’s cyclists," Councillor Nunn said last year.
“Who knows, it could also produce our very own elite cycling star in the future."
Delapre ward Councillor Emma Roberts welcomes the decision but wants to make sure it 'works for all'.
The Labour councillor said: "I am pleased it has approval but I wanted some stronger terms regarding works not commencing until all the agreed parking arrangements were formally in place.
"I also want some more consultation with residents and bike users alike to ensure it works for all."
Users would either access the site via the current cycle networks in the area or by car and book a space in the golf club car park.