May 8 2012 By Poppy Bradbury
YOUNG bikers are celebrating news that a BMX track is to be built next to a popular skatepark as part of the borough’s Olympic legacy.
The news was welcomed by skaters and BMX riders alike, who have been battling for the use of Ealing Skatepark since it opened outside Gurnell Leisure Centre in September.
Ealing Council leader Julian Bell said: “One of the first things I’m always asked when I speak to young people at the skatepark is if we can do a complementary BMX track at Gurnell Grove.
“We’re continuing to invest in our young people and particularly in this Olympic year.
“It’s an Olympic sport and we will be very supportive of new sporting facilities.”
The skatepark is popular with young people but users quickly launched a petition for additional facilities for BMX riders after the volume of traffic led to frustration and accidents on the small concrete ramps.
Skater and chairman of Ealing Skatepark Association Robin Weathersbee said: “Since the park opened it has proven so popular, there’s a lot of pressure on the park. There is a really obvious need for something else there, to attract more users as well.
“We’ve been working with the council on a solution to that. A lot of BMX-ers will prefer the track but some will still use the concrete – it’s a different challenge for them. But it’s important they have the track that’s built specifically for them.
“They can develop their own community of BMX-ers and mountain bikers. It’s great for those users and it will be very widely used.”
The proposed £85,000 floodlit dirt course is the most recent to be announced in London. Several tracks have been built in the run-up to the Games, where British rider Shanaze Reade will be looking for glory.
Councillors are consulting with residents and work could begin in July to open in August, pending planning permission.
Free skateboard lessons start next month. Top women boarders will teach 120 girls and women aged six to over 40. The team also want to target 14 to 25-year-olds currently not engaged in sport.
For more information and to book a place visit www.ealingskateparkassociation.com.