Plans to put Doncaster national cycling map with a permanent race circuit.

Plans have been drawn up to put Doncaster firmly on the national cycling map - with a permanent race circuit in the borough.

Friday, 17th February 2017, 08:04 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 08:36 am
Baroness Sue Campbell opens the new building at Forge Valley School in Stannington sheffield and its new Cycle track

If funding is secured in the next few months, the scheme could mean competitive cycling on the circuit, which would be built on land next to the Dome’s car park.

But the facility would also be opened up to the general public and is seen as a possible place or young children to learn to ride in safety.

A bunch sprint to the men's race where Team Sky rider Danny Van Poppel came over the line first after a photo finish. Tour de Yorkshire - Stage 2 between Otley and Doncaster. Saturday 30th April 2016. Picture: Chris Etchells

Doncaster Council officials believe the scheme at Lakeside could be set to help create a new cycling boom in the town.

Officials say the circuit, which would be 1km long, would transform an area of land into a purpose-built closed-road circuit for public use.

The popularity of cycling in Doncaster has exploded in recent years, with a growing number of people using their bikes on the borough’s roads and cycling club membership steadily increasing.

The local appetite for the sport was made even bigger when Doncaster hosted the Tour de Yorkshire almost one year ago, and now the council aims to build on the legacy of the event and significantly improve the facilities available by building the new circuit, which would ultimately be managed by Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust.

A bunch sprint to the men's race where Team Sky rider Danny Van Poppel came over the line first after a photo finish. Tour de Yorkshire - Stage 2 between Otley and Doncaster. Saturday 30th April 2016. Picture: Chris Etchells

Officials at the local authority say circuit would act as a home for local clubs and groups, as well as providing a safe environment for children and adults to learn to ride and generally stay fit in a safe, traffic free environment.

Doncaster Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism, Coun Bill Mordue, said the council was currently working with partners to identify funding for the scheme.

He said: “We are passionate about improving the facilities available for sport and recreation across Doncaster, including cycling which has massively grown in popularity over the last few years.

“We will push for the funding for this fantastic new circuit, and have already expressed our interest in submitting a bid to British Cycling as part of the UCI road racing world championships legacy fund, which will support cycling infrastructure projects across the country. Our partners and DCLT are fully behind the project and are helping us in our efforts to secure funding for the circuit.”

If funding bids are successful, it is thought that the track would open to the public in early 2018.

Bosses who run the nearby Doncaster Dome are also backing the scheme.

Andrew Burden, chairman of Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust said: “We are delighted to be working with Doncaster Council on plans to bring a this new cycle circuit to Doncaster. Cycling is an extremely popular activity in the borough and is a fantastic form of exercise.

“Having a facility like this would be a real boost to the town.”

Martin Maltby, president of Doncaster Wheelers cycle club, believes the track will be a massive boost for cycling in the town.

He believes it will help youngsters in the borough to learn to ride in safety.

He said: “It would be a massive improvement for the coaching sessions we run, and the potential to grow cycling in Doncaster as both a sport and a leisure activity would be great.

“We run Go Cycling sessions in Doncaster at the moment for children, and at the moment we have to do that in a car park. That’s better than nothing but it’s not ideal. This would allow us to use a cycle track.”

He said tracks were designed with corners that were a safe radius for riders to that the turns were not too tight, and a track would mean that users were always within sight - a bonus when working with children.

He added the track would mean that riders did not have worry about cars, broken glass or people walking in front of them.

At present his club runs cycling proficiency sessions for children, and they attract around 40-50 per session.

“We are hoping the track will be floodlit,” he said. “We can only do the Go Ride sessions after school during the lighter evenings at present. With floodlights and a circuit, we would be able to do that all year round.”

He said there are currently similar facilities elsewhere in Yorkshire, in cities including York and Sheffield, where there is one at Forge Valley School, pictured above

He believes a circuit would also be used by professional cyclists from Doncaster and beyond, including Doncaster rider Ben Turner, who recently won a bronze medal in the world cyclo-cross championships.

“There is certainly the demand for this,” he added.

Senior police officers are also supportive of the plans, and feel that the scheme would be helpful in terms of road safety, and reducing crime.

Supt Neil Thomas said he thought Doncaster was a good town for cyclist with good cycle lanes, with a good record on cycle safety, but it was important that those using the facility were aware of the need for safety measures such as helmets, high visibility clothing, and lights.

He added: “It would be yet another diverting activity which we would be able to tap into when people say there is nothing for them to do.”