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The Vision

 

Getting on your bike will do wonders for your health, your wallet and our planet.  We are Britain’s top sport and one of the fastest growing.  However, cycling still needs to reach out to get many more people riding, more often and for longer. What’s stopping that?  Well concerns about poor roads, heavy traffic, bad weather, lack of fitness or worries about fitting in often feature.  So attracting more cyclists will only happen through the provision of high quality all-weather facilities, trained support and the company of like-minded people all riding in a safe environment.  Such a cycling ‘development hub’ needs to offer opportunities for all kinds of bike experiences from trials to triathlon, touring to track, tarmac to all-terrain, whilst catering for people of every age and ability.  It must also be located where it can benefit most people in the Highlands so that it is easily accessible and affordable for users.

 

HiVelo is committed to working with landowners, key agencies and other groups towards delivery of an Inverness ‘cycling development hub’ as envisaged in Scottish Cycling’s current Facilities Strategy.  The Trust has lobbied and prepared independent feasibility studies (2015) that demonstrate the overwhelming case for these facilities serving the northern half of Scotland.  Its constitution provides for ongoing assistance to facilitate and support the operation of this complex in the longer term.

 

Remarkably, several key opportunities exist to deliver that vision for the Highlands. 

 

On the east side of the city, the established UHI Inverness Campus development at Beechwood will also include a modern Sports complex designed to meet the needs of the expanding East Inverness community and student body, as well as the wider region.  The Highland Velodrome Trust continues to liaise with the landowners, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, who are examining alternative ownership and management arrangements on a five acre site reserved for this sports hub. 

 

More immediately, Highland Council is aiming to complete the long overdue West Link distributor road linking the A9/A82 trunk routes and responding very positively to several related major investment opportunities.  These include a potential £300m ‘City Deal’ infrastructure investment package under negotiation between the Council, Scottish & UK Governments plus approximately £5m available to the city as part of a Commonwealth Games legacy ‘pot’ set up by sportscotland with Lottery support.  Improvements to the existing sports facilities at the Bught/Queens Park/Torvean now seem likely to include a new Regional Sports Performance Centre aimed at finding and developing future generations of elite athletes from the North of Scotland.

Feasibility studies have been completed by a working party chaired by High Life Highland.  Their recommendations have since been forwarded to the Council.  At meetings in March and September 2015, the Council unanimously agreed to the principle of developing a new £23.1m Sports complex with the core component being a 250m indoor velodrome with integrated facilities for tennis, judo, gymnastics, conditioning suite and athletics.  A budget of £150,000 has been approved to take forward the detailed design and business plan.  The Council has established a Project Board to oversee these preparations and High Life Highland is currently working with partners (including HiVelo) to finalise the Design Brief which will be tendered to external consultants in the Spring of 2016.  A ‘City Deal’ decision is imminent and of critical importance.  If successful, it is anticipated that the detailed Sports Hub proposals will go back for Council consideration in the Autumn.

Creation of a full-size indoor velodrome together with dedicated coaching, conditioning and meeting facilities would create at long last a proper ‘home’ for cycling in the North.  These would mesh well with the new skate/BMX park, nearby MTB/skills areas and Great Glen Way whilst also providing multiple crossover opportunities with other key sports including rowing and swimming.  It would also create the largest ‘arena’ event space in the Highlands with the potential to attract larger concerts, promotions and conferences to this area.  As only the seventh indoor velodrome in the UK and at the recommended  ‘championship’ 250m size, the new Centre would be uniquely placed to bring considerable prestige, major events and sporting accomplishment to the capital City of the Highlands.”

 

HIVELO – THE TEN YEAR TIMELINE

2008

“A Velodrome for the North of Scotland?” pamphlet published

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2009

NoSCA Working Group formed : initial Velodrome Business Plan produced

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2010

Discussions begun with key Sports/Development agencies

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2012

HIE commission Inverness Campus Sports Centre study

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2013

Highland Velodrome Trust established by NoSCA : affiliates to Scottish Cycling

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2014

High Life Regional Sports Centre Study & Council-led City Deal negotiations underway

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2015

HiVelo becomes a charity & publishes its Velodrome Design Study/updated Business Plan

Council confirms ‘flagship’ 250m track for proposed Regional Sports Performance Centre

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2016

Government ‘City/Region Deal’ financial package approved

Design work and site investigations at the Bught completed

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2017

Construction work begins : HiVelo recommends track user consultative group be formed

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2018

North of Scotland velopark opens for business

 
 
 
 



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