Wheels are set in motion for plan to build new velodrome

SPORTS leaders are pressing ahead with plans for a new cycling facility to replace the ageing Meadowbank velodrome, despite the fact they are putting the stadium redevelopment on hold.

Council leaders have identified two possible sites for a new covered 200 metre track. One is beside the Jack Kane Centre in Hunters Hall, and the other in the Sighthill area.

They are in talks with sportscotland over funding for the new facility – expected to cost between 2.5 million and 3m – and will also bid to the council's capital investment programme in the February budget.

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Council chiefs today said they were committed to providing a new cycling facility, even though they were being forced to delay the redevelopment of Meadowbank Stadium.

City sports leader Deidre Brock said: "A new cycling facility is still very much part of our current plans and we will do all we can to pull together a funding package to make it happen.

"Edinburgh has genuine cycling pedigree. We want to make the most of that, and we are in touch with sportscotland about the potential for a funding contribution.

"It's early days and we would obviously have to consult very closely with local communities first, but these sites could offer real potential for a fantastic new home for cycling in Edinburgh – a new track and BMX facility that might even produce the next Chris Hoy."

The city council had planned to bulldoze Meadowbank stadium and velodrome and replace them with a new 25m sports centre.

It was due to be funded in the main by selling off a third of the site, however, council bosses have been forced to halt the project after it emerged the land would only fetch around 5m in the current market compared to the expected 17m.

Olympic, World and Commonwealth champion Hoy, left, today welcomed the news the velodrome redevelopment was not being stalled.

He said: "A covered 200m training track will give our sport a wonderful facility which will ultimately benefit the whole country as the east of Scotland continues to produce world level talent.

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"Our youth development programme is every bit as good as that in place at the UK National Cycling Centre in Manchester and with facilities to match, Edinburgh could be proud that it is supporting sport, health and fitness."

Hoy said that after coming back from Beijing, both Alex Salmond and Gordon Brown said they wanted to help provide new sporting facilities for Scottish athletes.

He added: "This project would be a wonderful way for them show their support for our city and our sport."

Allister Watson, board member of Scottish Cycling and chairman of Edinburgh Racers Youth Cycling Club, also welcomed the support for a new facility.