Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

January 14, 2015

CamGlen gets on its bike

Scotland has a Craft Town (West Kilbride), a Book Town (Wigtown) and is on the verge of cycling towards its own Bike Town.  In part due to the success of Sir Chris Hoy and a host of others on the track and road, participation in cycling has exploded in recent years. Healthy’n’Happy Development Trust, who operate between Cambuslang and Rutherglen (CamGlen), are behind the initiative to become Scotland’s bike town. Latest plan is a multi-million pound proposal to develop a national road racing centre on a vacant site in Cumbernauld.


Kenny Smith , Rutherglen Reformer

The Reformer can exclusively reveal that plans to create a multi-million pound national cycle road-racing centre in Cambuslang have been outlined.

Scottish Cycling met with representatives from a group behind the bid at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow last month, to establish a dedicated closed-road training/racing facility in the town.

A site has been identified at Bogleshole Road, on waste ground at the back of the old Hoover facility, and the Reformer understands that the land is currently owned by Scottish Enterprise. We believe that a firm has an option on this land which will expire in early 2015, but they are unlikely to take this up.

The area – known as Site 22 – is 82,500 square metres, and has been a dumping ground in recent years, and is unsuitable for a major development, for either industrial use or housing.

The proposal has been developed by Cambuslang Community Council, CamGlen Bike Town (part of the Healthy ‘n’ Happy Community Development Trust), South Lanarkshire Council, South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture, and cyclists from East Kilbride Road Club.

Community council treasurer John Bachtler said: “The area we’ve identified has been vacant since the early 1970s, when it was known as Hamilton Farm, and was previously used for agriculture.

“What we’re proposing is an outdoor track of between 1.5 and two kilometres, with the option of a shorter loop, floodlighting, changing rooms, toilets and showers, a clubhouse and cafe, and parking for coaches and cars.

“There is varied terrain, giving scope for an undulating course with different gradients, and it is separate from residential areas, meaning there will be minimal disturbance from noise, traffic and floodlighting.

“There are also plenty of cycling activities based nearby, with the Cathkin Braes mountain bike centre, the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the Cuningar Forest Park track, and the South Lanarkshire Lifestyle sports centre.

“Cambuslang is in a great position for this because it can reach 63.1 per cent of the Scottish population within 60 minutes.

“There are also great train and bus links, with Cambuslang and Carmyle train stations both being closs by, and plenty of bus routes.”

A Scottish Enterprise spokesperson said: “Site 22 is not leased at present but is the subject of an option agreement that expires early next year. Notwithstanding that agreement, we have recently been approached by a party potentially interested in the site, however we are not at liberty to discuss the detail of this approach at this time.”

The team behind the bid has investigated similar facilities, looking at a £4.5 million facility in Redbridge in Essex, which opened in 2008, and the £10 million Cyclopark in Kent.

John added: “We’ve spoken to representatives of canoeing and rowing groups on the Clyde, as there are few places for them to access this part of the river. We would like to be able to incorporate something for them in this project too, so they have a safe place to launch.”

A Scottish Cycling spokesperson said: “Our facilities strategy identifies the need for multi-discipline cycling hubs throughout Scotland.

“Scottish Cycling believe that having safe, local, accessible cycling facilities throughout Scotland will aid the development of our sport.

“Local cycling facilities will not only help generate youth participation and develop the skills of existing riders throughout Scotland but will also aid the progression of our coaches, leaders and club volunteers.”

Last month, the Reformer revealed that Cambuslang Community Council, South Lanarkshire Council and Healthy ‘n’ Happy are looking to create a new cycle path along the south side of the River Clyde, linking Cambuslang and Rutherglen.

The plans have been given a warm reception.

Chair of the South Lanarkshire Cycling Partnership, Councillor Graham Simpson, also welcomed the proposal – but stressed that it is only a plan at present.

He said: “It’s only a proposal at this stage, but it’s an exciting proposal.

“There’s an awful lot of work that needs to be done to make it a reality, so I don’t want people to get too excited at this stage – but if it were to come off, it would be fantastic.

“There’s a clearly a need for a facility like this in Scotland, as there isn’t one at present, and it would give people the ability to train off-road.

“We’ve got the Velodrome nearby, which is great, but there’s nothing outdoors, so for people who like to cycle outside, there’s absolutely nowhere to train at present – that’s why this proposal is such a good idea.

“The other thing we could potentially do is to use the Clyde, and create a canoeing/kayaking centre. It doesn’t have to be just for cycling.

“We could also get children involved through the Bikeability Scotland scheme as well.

“One of the real barriers for cycling is the fear of going out on the road, so if we have a facility like this, it might encourage more kids to train and learn how to cycle safely.

“For all those residents, it could be a great project, but I stress there’s still an awful lot of work to be done to make it a reality.

“Scottish Enterprise own the land so there would have to be negotiations there, but everyone we speak to is very supportive of this.”

Cambuslang West councillor Richard Tullett added: “One of my highlights of 2014 has been my involvement with the bike project.

“It’s a really committed team who have a very far-reaching vision, and it’s been good to be about to join the project board, working alongside Councillor Graham Simpson, the chair of the council’s cycling partnership.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops in 2015.”

Gregor Yeoman, coach at the East Kilbride Road Club, said: “There’s nowhere local where it’s safe to train children and young people in road-racing.

“We have used industrial estates and circuits belonging to other sports, but that isn’t always possible and some have proved to be unsuitable as they are not dedicated cycle tracks.

“So we need a dedicated facility if we’re going to produce the next generation of Sir Chris Hoys.”