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New £250,000 bike park development for Hillsborough Park

Hillsborough Park, site of the new bike park

Hillsborough Park is set for more transformation with an exciting £250,000 all wheeled bike park, to be completed by next spring.

The project has been developed and funding secured by Sheffield City Council in partnership with Access Sport, Move More and Sheffield Hallam University.

The facility, which was granted planning permission last week, will provide a progressive, inclusive and accessible community asset for the park and further contribute to Sheffield’s plans to promote and encourage cycling in the city.

Access Sport is an award winning national charity that specialises in delivering facilities and programmes which normalise youth, inclusion and diversity in cycling, supporting people from typically underrepresented groups to kick-start a lifelong love of cycling, leading to cycling for sport, recreation and travel.

The project at Hillsborough Park aims to help energise youth and inclusive cycling in Sheffield through building a brand-new community cycling facility that will be open to all ages and all abilities.

As well as the facility itself Access Sport will provide equipment such as bikes and helmets, storage facilities for equipment, and regular coaching sessions. Importantly the facility will act as a base for a new community cycling club run by local people. It will also provide the hub for a community outreach programme connecting with local schools and community groups to make sure that all members of society benefit, such as individuals who wouldn’t attend on their own and young people that don’t have access to a bike, can’t ride a bike or aren’t active in in any way.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “This exciting new bike park will provide excellent modern cycling facilities for all. It’s a fantastic example of partnership working, drawing on expertise and national initiatives in response to the needs of our communities.

“Not only will it be a great attraction for visitors to Hillsborough Park, but it will enable those with barriers to cycling, such as disabilities, affordability and access, to develop their skills and a love for travelling on wheels.

“Hillsborough Park is one of our finest public spaces and we have great plans for its future as a destination park – it’s the perfect home for this new facility.

“It’s great to see the park’s future on track, and, with the new Coach House facility also being developed, things are looking up for Hillsborough, its fantastic park and the local community.”

Consultation was undertaken in Autumn 2019 with local stakeholders, users of the park, and the wider community, in order to gauge support for the proposed bike park. This identified an overwhelming level of support from the local community for the bike park concept, with 91% of the 860 respondents supporting the project. Respondents highlighted that the facility would be a positive addition to the park which would provide a unique, inclusive, and accessible facility for all ages to take part in fun, active and healthy leisure activity.

The all-wheeled bike park is an example of the importance of parks as hubs for cycling facilities and healthy and fun physical activity for all ages and abilities, further supporting the Move More agenda and the appeal of the Outdoor City for outdoor sports and recreation.

Dr Anna Lowe, Programme Manager for the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the All Wheeled Bike Park now has planning permission, it is a great step forward in this ambitious project.

“The new bike park will be a fantastic asset for Hillsborough and for Sheffield; it will create new cycling opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to get active and will encourage more people to enjoy one of Sheffield’s many beautiful green spaces.”

Since the consultation the council has worked with Access Sport to develop a concept design for the inclusive bike park, designed to appeal to a wide range of bike users, as well as scooters, skateboarders and other wheeled sports. The facility will include a learn to ride area, a beginners section and an advanced section, allowing all ages and abilities to use the facility and develop their confidence and skills.

Dr Gareth Jones, Researcher at Sheffield Hallam University, Academy for Sport and Physical Activity, said: “It was fantastic to hear that the Hillsborough All Wheeled Bike Park was granted planning permission. The facility and activation programme will provide the local community with a fantastic asset to support people of all ages to live active lifestyles, bolster health and wellbeing, as well as build a solid foundation for a lifelong fundamental skill in learning to ride a bike. This will hopefully translate to positive health behaviours throughout life, such as active travel.”

Through the partnership with Access Sport the facility is backed by Sport England and the London Marathon Charitable Trust, and is the first investment the Trust have made in a cycling facility outside of London. Further funding towards the project is being provided by Sheffield City Council’s Parks & Countryside Service public health funded programme of improvements. In total the partnership has secured more than £250,000 towards delivering the bike park, as well as support from British Cycling.

Planning permission was granted in August 2020, and over the next few months the facility will be procured and final designs for the bike park completed. It is expected that the bike park will be constructed and fully open to the public by late Spring 2021.

The bike track development comes after it was announced in June 2020 that Hillsborough Park is also is set for a new £1m community café and activity centre supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Age UK Sheffield will restore the derelict Grade II Listed Old Coach House building, with work starting in the autumn.