Colchester Northern Gateway Cycling Centre

Colchester Rovers has been aware for some time of plans by Colchester Council to bring a Cycling Centre to the town. Representatives of the club have been to the limited number of engagement meetings held by the council during the design/procurement process over the last 2 years.

The team at Colchester County Council wanted to create a new Sports Hub in the Northern Gateway area of Colchester. Their objective was to create an exciting new facility that meets the future needs of the community.

The development for a new sports hub is situated on the Northern Gateway site to the east of an existing park and ride facility. Once complete, it will offer a mixed-use sports development, including the relocation of Colchester Rugby Club, a new clubhouse, a new dry side sports centre and an outdoor 1.6km closed-circuit cycle race track, a pump track and a learn-to-ride area. The 1.6km circuit is designed to meet all the current British Cycling safety and operational requirements and will be floodlit to allow use during autumn and winter evenings.

The financial / planning processes have been completed and construction of the new facility is underway. The ethos behind the facility is to drive-up activity levels and participation of the general public by using new sporting opportunities within the town.

So I am pleased to tell you that the new cycle facility in Colchester is a reality and will be ready for use in early summer 2020.

The facility will be used by Colchester Rovers and many other local cycling clubs to provide training and racing opportunities for local riders.

British Cycling is investing heavily in the cycle circuit with an infrastructure contribution close to £900,000. To help protect their investment they intend to place a British Cycling employed coach at the facility to engage with the local cycling community, schools and clubs. Their involvement with this cycle facility is somewhat different from the other closed-circuit facilities in the South East allowing them to support the use of the facility quite heavily.

There is a plan from BC for the new circuit to operate as a regional disability cycling centre with the potential to host para-cycling race and training activity in the future.

The Rovers committee is keen that the club is at the forefront of planning club training and racing activities at the new centre. It is for this reason that we organised and hosted a meeting of cycling stakeholders from all the clubs in and around Colchester and other nearby towns.

British Cycling attended the meeting with representation from the regional organisation and presented their understanding of the centre and the council’s proposals.

All parties that attended the meeting were very keen to send a message back to the council via British Cycling that we are ready to engage and bring our experience to help them plan racing and club cycling activities at the centre. We await details of the formal business proposal for the centre from the council which we understand from BC should be available during September 2019.

I will update you as soon as further information is available from the operator. At this stage it sufficient to say that we expect that the club will base its activities from the new centre and we will have a visible presence within the building. Youth activities are certain to change and expand significantly with the use of traffic-free cycling facility local to the town which is something that we just have not had in the past. There is potential to create new spring and autumn closed circuit race series as well as youth events etc.

These are exciting times for the club and we are looking to make the most of this opportunity. If you are interested in leading/helping with the club’s involvement in activities at the new facility please contact the chairman: chairman@colchesterrovers.org.uk