Linlithgow is on the home stretch to win its long-held dream of building a cycle racing circuit in the town.
Sportscotland has agreed cash support through a new fund raised to promote the sport nationwide.
West Lothian Council agreed funding from its capital budget at a recent executive meeting.
A group of national and local partners have now come together to come up with a design plan and build timeframe for the new racing circuit on a site next to the town’s Xcite premises at Kettilstoun Mains.
The proposed design for the West Lothian Cycle Circuit allows for a 6m-wide and 1km-long closed-road cycling circuit in four loops, and would be available for individual drop-in sessions, club use and organised activities.
The track would provide cyclists with a safe road environment of similar width to a single lane of a two-way road, to help people of all ages and abilities increase their skills and build up their confidence.
The length allows for variety in gradients and bends as well as accommodating larger field and group sizes around the track. And plans also feature a cobbled section, allowing the track to help with training for the ‘Spring Classics’ races held across Europe.
The design includes floodlighting, perimeter security fencing with access gates, a tarmacked entrance area, access path, storage unit and disabled parking spaces to supplement the car parking already available adjacent to the site.
Sportscotland has committed more than £600,000 to the plan through the national Cycling Facilities Fund (CFF).
The CFF was launched in October 2020 and aims to deliver a lasting impact from Scotland hosting the Cycling World Championships in 2023 by inspiring new and existing cyclists to make cycling a sport for life.
The proposed development also has the backing of Olympic gold medallist Callum Skinner and Commonwealth Games champion Mark Stewart.
West Lothian Council will be a major contributor to the project having committed more than £300,000 from its capital budget.
Other partners include Linlithgow Community Development Trust (LCDT), West Lothian Leisure (WLL), Sportscotland, Scottish Cycling, West Lothian Clarion Cycling Club, and a network of associated sports clubs, community organisations and charities.
Designs are expected to be finalised this autumn/winter, with a start on site in the spring and commissioning set for the autumn of next year.
Writing online, Fraser Falconer, chair of Linlithgow Community Development Trust, said: “The new facility being built will represent a tremendous achievement for our community, creating a wonderful place to nurture a love of cycling for people of all ages and inclusive for all.
“After years of hard work from local volunteers and supporters, the recognition by Sportscotland and West Lothian Council gives great inspiration to us as we link the delivery of the cycle circuit to active travel, healthy living, social inclusion and improving health and well-being.”
Leader of West Lothian Council, Lawrence Fitzpatrick, added: “I’m sure this will be a very welcome initiative, not only in the Linlithgow area but for all sports people as it increases the opportunity for further outdoor activity and will support partners across the sporting system to build on a record increase in the number of people participating in cycling during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We look forward to working together with key partners on the progression of the cycle circuit.”
By local democracy reporter Stuart Sommerville