Essex

London 2012: Hadleigh Olympic mountain bike legacy plans revealed

New section of the Hadleigh Farm Olympic mountain bike course
Image caption The course will be amended for use by riders of all abilities

Plans for the future use of the Olympic mountain bike course in Essex have been revealed.

The legacy proposals for the Hadleigh Farm site would see it modified for use by amateur riders after the games and new visitor facilities built.

The work would be led by Essex County Council and the Salvation Army.

The plans will now be submitted to Castle Point Borough Council. If approved the site is expected to start reopening to the public in 2013.

The three-mile (5km) course, on Salvation Army land, has undergone a number of changes following feedback from riders who competed at a test event last August.

These include an extension to the main climb and two new technical sections.

Image caption New sections of the course have been built after rider feedback

Following the Olympic events on 11 and 12 August, work is planned to amend the track further, with new "easier" lines added at the most difficult sections.

Phil Saxena of Architrail, which will carry out the changes, explained the work would mean riders of all abilities would be able to use the track.

Nature trails

"It's very important to make sure its safe for everybody to ride," he said.

"But we have to maintain a challenge for the really good riders and we haven't lost that elite level facility.

"You'll have to make a conscious decision to take the more technical lines."

The legacy plans also include building a new visitor centre, known as The Hub, at the nearby Hadleigh County Park.

Existing paths and nature trails will also be improved and projects to "protect and enhance" the natural habitat are planned.

Stephen Castle, cabinet member for education and the 2012 games at Essex County Council, said it was still being decided how the project would be funded.

"What we don't want to do is put a burden on the Essex council taxpayer in the future," he said.

"So we need to develop a business model, and that's part of The Hub project, that will enable us to fund the course and further developments at the park."

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