HALESOWEN Cycling Club’s boss has welcomed a major announcement confirming plans to bring specialist cycling facilities to the region are on track.

Veteran cyclist Dave Viner, chairperson of the club, was delighted to hear the news confirmed by the West Midlands Combined Authority today (Wednesday March 20) and hailed it a “huge step forward” for the long-running bid to bring a velodrome to the region.

The WMCA said plans to create new specialist cycling facilities, including a 250m velodrome, are to be progressed following a business case review.

A feasibility study will now look at potential locations, designs and funding opportunities for multi-purpose indoor and outdoor facilities for all forms of cycling, such as BMX, mountain biking and track cycling.

Halesowen News: CGI of how the proposed multi-purpose cycling facility could lookCGI of how the proposed multi-purpose cycling facility could look (Image: West Midlands Combined Authority)

Independent consultants, funded by the WMCA and Sport England, were commissioned last year to carry out a business case review examining in detail all potential options in response to a long-running petition calling for a dedicated velodrome for the West Midlands.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chairperson, made a manifesto commitment to fund the business case and a final report has now concluded there is no strategic, commercial or economical case for a standalone indoor velodrome or an upgrade of an existing facility.

It has, however, confirmed there is a business case for a multi-cycling facility, providing indoor and outdoor activities which could include a 250m velodrome track - subject to the findings of a detailed site feasibility study.

The Mayor said: “For a number of years there has been a lot of campaigning on this issue and my commitment was to fund a business case for a velodrome.

“We now have that report and what we’re going to do next is to progress its recommendation to take a closer look at how we can provide for track cycling as part of more wide-ranging facilities that are for all levels and forms of cycling.

“We must continue to harness the interest generated by the Commonwealth Games and other sporting events that are coming to our region to inspire local people to be more active.”

The West Midlands Velodrome Campaign began six years ago after news that - although Birmingham would host the 2022 Commonwealth Games - track cycling would take place in London.

Dave Viner, who has been at the forefront of the campaign, welcomed the news and said: “The conclusion of the business case is a huge step forward for the campaign to have an indoor velodrome together with other possible cycling facilities for the West Midlands. This is long overdue.

“It is acknowledged that sports stadiums can become focal points for strong communities and catalysts for social and economic development – such has been the case with the existing velodromes in London, Manchester, Newport, Derby and Glasgow.

“An indoor velodrome is undoubtedly one of the most adaptive and inclusive of sporting arenas it is possible to build. It is now time for the West Midlands to catch up with other parts of the UK.”

Any new facilities would be for people of all ages and abilities, from those getting on a bike for the first-time to aspiring elite competitors.

Representatives from Sport England and British Cycling have expressed support for continued efforts to explore opportunities to increase cycling provision to boost health in the region.