Plans are afoot for a multi-million pound Olympic-standard velodrome in Inverness – if finance can be sourced.
The 250-metre velodrome at Bught Park would be at the forefront of a multiuse sports arena. However, it is dependent on the city being awarded a £410m City Deal grant from the UK and Scottish Government, of which £20m would go towards the sports facility.
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Highland Council has completed its basic feasibility assessment in preparation of a £150,000 detailed design and costing study, in conjunction with Porteous Leisure.
There is no estimated date for the study’s completion, but the project – estimated to cost £23.1m plus inflation – does have the backing of all parties.
The region is expected to find out in spring 2016 if it has been approved the City Deal grant.
“The project is dependent on the City Deal,” Stuart Black, of Highland Council, said.
Sportscotland, the national agency for sport, told Cycling Weekly that they would be willing to fund between £5 and £7m to the project if requested.
The council – who would use High Life Highland as the leisure service provider – would seek financial partners and possibly naming rights to fill any funding gaps.
He said that they are “fairly confident that there’s sufficient demand for a velodrome, but we need to establish robust figures”.
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The plans would form part of Sportscotland’s network of National and Regional Sports Facility, and go towards fulfilling their pledge to have a centre of sporting excellence in each area of the country.
Craig Burns, CEO of Scottish Cycling, said: “It would have to be a talent and performance centre, with pledges of how to nurture talent and coached development.”
The current concept for the velodrome is based on the design of the recently-opened Derby velodrome, with those working on the Inverness project having taken in a visit to the East Midlands venue.
Mike Greaves, secretary of the HiVelo trust which has been researching and campaigning for a velodrome since 2008, said: “This area has a rich background in nurturing top track cyclists such as Craig MacLean and Callum Skinner despite the impediments of our remote location and climatic handicaps.
“An indoor velodrome would be truly transformative for elite and aspiring riders.”