SUPPORT OUR PETITION FOR A RUNNING TRACK AND CYCLING TRACK IN ABERYSTWYTH.

Working with Ystwyth Cycling Club we propose the construction of an all-weather, competition standard running track alongside a hard surface cycling track. Unique in Wales, these two regionally significant tracks would be constructed in central Aberystwyth and operated in conjunction with the existing facilities a Plas Crug Leisure Centre to create a cost effective, strategic sports hub serving the needs of the town, and Mid Wales. We believe the these tracks would be recognised as a fitting legacy from the 2012 Olympic games and a perfect fit for the Regeneration ambitions of the town. 

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 The Background
There is a recognised long standing requirement for a competitive athletics track in Aberystwyth, and over many years and despite many meetings and campaigns, nothing has yet been delivered. Ceredigion is now one of the few counties in the UK to have no standard-sized athletics track whatsoever. Both the Aberystwyth town and University Athletics clubs are forced to focus on 'distance' road running, and cannot cater effectively for other disciplines of athletics such as sprinting, middle distance and field events. This means that the area is deeply restricted in its ability to cater to the range and depth of athletics or to support any form of competition and consequently - despite the fact that both clubs are capable of attracting enthusiastic members, interest can wane and potential athletes are lost. The University Club have outgrown the 2 lane track on the Penglais campus, and it is logistically impossible to hold training amongst groups of differing abilities focusing on different forms of the sport.

While cycling is a growing sport in Wales, with mountain biking facilities in particular proving to be very popular, there are severe limitations for other aspects of the sport. With the nearest indoor Velodrome situated in Newport and with no open air enclosed cycle track facilities within 50 miles of Aberystwyth this means that participants have to travel long distances use the facilities and in turn this restricts the focus of the town cycling club to road based training and to the dangers of traffic. This is a distinct barrier for parents who are understandably reluctant to allow their children onto heavily used roads. An enclosed cycling facility would provide a safe location to encourage children to cycle, allow adults to do 'speed-work' and enhance their training and, provide a training and competition arena to attract riders from elsewhere in Mid Wales.

At this time the eyes of the world will be on the London 2012 Olympic games, a recipient of a vast amount of spending on sporting facilities in London. The organisers of the games including Sebastian Coe have repeatedly spoken of 'a sporting legacy for the whole of Britain'. We agree wholeheartedly and believe that the development of athletics and cycling facilities in Aberystwyth would build on the spirit of the Games to create a real legacy - a sporting hub,  that would be unique in Wales and where it is needed most, in one of the most country's most deprived areas in terms of sporting opportunities.
 Why This Fits With Aberystwyth Regeneration Objectives
Creating these track facilities in Aberystwyth would be unparalleled anywhere else in Wales and because of their location they would help create a strategic sports hub in the heart of Mid Wales that would help form an enormous visitor attraction. We believe that this fits a number of the RA's strategic objectives;
  • The project is a genuine partnership project which makes use of existing grounds and service areas and involves suppliers and users from the outset. The facilities will have appeal to the local Aberystwyth community and also to users in neighbouring authorities.  Welsh Athletics already recognise that Aberystwyth is the ideal strategic location for a track serving the extended needs of Powys and South Gwynedd. The envisaged operation model would involve closer participation between schools, Plas Crug leisure Services and Penweddig PFI Partner to manage and exploit economic usage.
  • Athletics and Cycling are sports that thrive on statistics - and maybe a bit of rhetoric. Schools would be able to build supporting lesson material around events and activities utilising the facilities to give a the focus to numeracy and language skills. Participation between the selected suppliers and the schools would also deliver materials relating to project planning and estimating that might prove useful in school course work.
  • The location of the facility is close to Aberystwyth town centre and would serve to promote economic activity directly,  through the usage of the facility and the creation of jobs during the construction and operational phases, and indirectly through the spillover of footfall into the town's retail outlets. Note: Aberystwyth currently suffers the effect of this indirect effect as exceptional young sports people tend drift to other locations where they can get access to the facilities they need to develop their sporting careers. Put simply the children get their training while the parents go shopping.
  • Encouraging participation in area of deprivation (Community First) by enabling volunteer sports organisations to develop their training and coaching capabilities to high standard and realise the potential of their memberships.
  • The project would have a minimal environmental impact. The main waste to come from the project would be the topsoil removed in order to prepare the track foundations. Topsoil is a sought after commodity and would be relatively easy to distribute.