Petition launched to put Pedal Park plans back on table for former RAF Coltishall site after idea shelved
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
More than 1,000 people have backed a petition calling for Norfolk County Council to put plans for a Pedal Park back on the table for the future of RAF Coltishall.
Planning permission was granted for the owners of bike shop Pedal Revolution to transform the track into a cycling venue in June, and they have plunged £50,000 into getting the concept off the ground.
Delays in securing a lease meant the launch event for the park, due for May 8, had to be abandoned, and a potential £75,000 grant from Sport England was missed.
And following a 'pilot' test for the Pedal Park in July and the recent review of the asset, the plan has been rejected in favour of creating a new business park focused on science, technology, engineering and manufacturing.
Cyclist Graeme Skinner, petitioning Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, has called for the Pedal Park plan to be reinstated.
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'What they are offering is a safe environment for us to bring on the next generation of cyclists which can only be a good thing,' he said. 'Cycling is getting more and more popular throughout Europe and there is the possibility of tourist revenue to come and ride what is expected to be the largest Pedal Park in Europe.
'I would accept the argument that a science park would bring in more jobs, if the current science parks we already had were full and had waiting lists, but we know they don't. Moreover the Pedal Park would not interfere with any commercial entity as it occupies the perimeter roads.'
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Neil Turner, co-owner of Pedal Revolution, has backed the petition.
'All we need is a fair hearing to pitch how we can run Pedal Park in harmony with the new business park on this iconic and enormous site,' he said. 'When the three mile circuit is gone, it will be gone forever.
'Pedal Park is all about engaging local people of all ages, abilities and disabilities, inspiring them to get active and enabling them to develop a passion for cycling within a safe environment.
'Our business plan and pilot event proves there are no valid reasons why we can not find a way to achieve this and generate extra commercial income for the Council - it's a win-win proposition for everyone.'
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council, landowners of the site, said: 'The strategic review of Scottow Enterprise Park has now been completed, and members of the working party, which is accountable for the site, have agreed that it should be developed for the future as a hub which is specifically focused on supporting science, technology, and engineering (STEM) businesses.'
To sign the petition, visit: www.change.org/p/reinstate-raf-coltishall-pedal-park