Olympic Games cycling track change a ‘hollow’ win

Amateur cyclists in Hackney have hailed as a “hollow victory” the latest twist in their battle with Olympic chiefs over plans for a new cycling track at the 2012 Park.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company ditched its revised plan for the mile-long high-speed track this week but submitted another alternative which restores the river crossing into Hackney.

The original consented plan saw the fenced off circuit cross the River Lea over new bridges into parkland in Hackney.

But the OLPC submitted revised plans in March, squeezing the circuit on the north side of the river close to the velodrome.

Hackney Council supported the scheme, which it said would create better quality parkland with unrestricted access to the river, while Sport England and British Cycling opposed it.

Last week the OPLC announced it had withdrawn its application and agreed a compromise with British Cycling, Sport England and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, who will own and operate the VeloPark after the Games. “The agreement on the new plan is a significant milestone in the development of the Park,” a joint statement said.

The outline commitment sees the track cross the river, but the consented scheme has been amended to create a new area of open space and accessible riverside.

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However, Michael Humphreys, chairman of the Eastway Users Group Cycle Group, said: “We had an agreement which was acceptable and gained consent, so for the OPLC to come along and propose another scheme and then to drop it is a hollow victory.”

A new planning application has now been submitted to the ODA Planning Decisions Team.