£61,000 to enhance cycling facilities at Torbay Velopark

Kingskerswell's Andy Perkins (Mid-Devon CC) winning the 3/4th Category race at the Torbay Velopark - Credit: Archant

Enhancements costing £61,000 are proposed at Torbay Velopark. - Credit: Mid-Devon CC

Torbay Velopark is set to benefit from over £61,000 of improvements.

Together with Lex Leisure and Mid Devon Cycling Club, Torbay Council has been awarded £33,703 after a successful application to British Cycling’s Place to Ride capital grants programme.

Combined with a further £28,028 commitment from Mid Devon Cycling Club, Torbay Velopark is set to benefit from £61,000 to be used to enhance the existing Velopark facilities at Clennon Valley which first opened in 2014.

The 1.5km track is the only closed-road circuit in Devon and Cornwall and is used all year round by amateurs and professionals for cycling, including coaching and training and a range of other sporting activities.  

Cycling in Torbay has increased in popularity in recent years, especially over the pandemic and while there has been an increase in the number of cycle paths, the range of activities provided are limited and off-road cycling facilities are in high demand.  

Enhancements proposed at the Velopark include the creation of a community cycling hub, permanent Cyclo-cross track for racing and a pump track - smooth dirt mounds - which would both meet national competition standards and includes off-road grass, mud and gravel tracks, cycle hire and a refreshment area with seating looking directly upon the track.

The new facilities will not only benefit experienced cyclists, but cyclists of all ages and abilities who will have a ‘go to’ cycling destination.

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In addition, there will be provision made for families, schools, colleges and groups representing minority interests whether through disability, hardship, hard to reach or people living with mental health issues.

Work on the new facilities will be completed by the end of next March.

Cllr Mike Morey, Cabinet member for infrastructure, environment and culture on Torbay Council, said: “As a council our aim is to ensure that all our residents are active and healthy.

"Cycling has become more and more popular over the last 18 months as many residents got ‘on their bike’ as part of their daily exercise allowance when the strictest lockdown measures were in place.

"The enhancements to the facilities will hopefully go some way in ensuring that the number of people enjoying cycling in Torbay is maintained well into the future.”

Glen Hall, managing director of Parkwood Leisure, said: “We are delighted to have secured funding from British Cycling which will hugely support in enhancing the existing facility.

"We are committed to the shared goal of creating a communal cycling hub and making the site more inclusive to all ages and abilities.

"The Velopark has become ever-more popular over recent years and we’re excited to see more of our local community being able to enjoy this facility.”

Mike Gratton, Mid Devon Cycling Club chairman, said: “I’m delighted with the news that the funding for the Velopark developments has been confirmed.

"Working in partnership with British Cycling, Torbay Council and Lex Leisure, we believe that we can deliver some quality improvements to the Torbay Velopark which will create a holistic cycling hub and benefit everybody in the Bay.

“Mid Devon Cycling Club is an inclusive cycling club catering for aspiring professional riders through to people who ride occasionally and socially, both on and off road.

"Our Mid Devon Cycling Club Youth Academy, which is based at the Torbay Velopark, is growing at a significant rate.

"We believe the investment that we are making into cycling facilities will not only benefit the club and secure future memberships but be welcomed by all cyclists.”

Andy Farr, head of business planning and transformation at British Cycling said: “Torbay Council, Lex Leisure and Mid Devon Cycling Club are doing great work to get more people cycling in Torbay.

"We are pleased to support their efforts to bring the community together and support the enhanced facilities at the Velpoark through Places to Ride.

“As we enter the final period of allocating grants through the fund, we are incredibly proud to see how it has already enabled so many people from a range of backgrounds – regardless of age, gender, ability or ethnicity to get involved with cycling.”

The project will be managed largely by volunteers supporting us and it will be maintained by voluntary sector funding, with grants from British Cycling.

It is part of a wider Torbay Council commitment to support and nurture sports in the Bay.