CYCLISTS have hit back at claims Newbold Comyn will become a destination mountain biking facility and are calling on the community to work together to create a shared space.
Representatives from local cycling clubs are supporting a planning application by Warwick District Council to redevelop part of the former golf course into cycle trails.
They say no ‘traffic-free’ mountain bike trails are available nearby and having facilities in the area would encourage more people to try biking or develop their skills.
Andy Robson, spokesman for RLSCC, Warwick Lanterne Rouge, Godiva Trail Riders, Stratford CC, Kenilworth Wheelers, Warwick Amateur Cycling Club and Peddlamaniacs, says local clubs want a shared facility so Newbold Comyn can be used by cyclists, walkers, dog walkers and families.
He told the Observer: “At the moment there is no suitable facility for traffic-free mountain bike trails in Warwickshire which means despite the large number of cyclists, and potential cyclists in the area, the activity is limited to those who are able to travel significant distances to take part. This isn’t fair, and goes against what we feel locally should be the way forwards – some free-to-use dedicated cycling trails which are suitable for everyone from family rides and first-timers through to those who are seeking to progress their skills as they become more proficient.
“Newbold Comyn presents an excellent opportunity for the creation of a shared-space facility, where cycle trails are included in one area of the site so we are able to create a community facility.”
And following concerns dogs would be banned from using the site, Andy said he believes they should be free to use the trails if they are under control.
He added: “If a dog is under control then that’s fine with us – whether it’s on or off a lead is a fairly moot point – if it’s safe to be off a lead currently, with good recall, then great.
“We need to refocus on the benefits – the reality is that actually it won’t be that different to now, there will still be wide green open spaces, the nature reserve areas will be increased in size, the views will remain and dogs will still be welcomed.”
But Kate Pittel, who is among those opposing the development, said: ”Newbold Comyn is currently a shared space and we feel no need for that to change. The majority visit it to walk and enjoy the peace and quiet. Many people are dismayed that the plans favour cyclists over all the other users of the old golf course.
“The two metre paths will be flanked on either side by a three metre no go space for safety. That means that each cycle track will in essence be eight metres wide, not two metres.
“Where mountain bikes are travelling at speed, safety will be a real issue for all other users.”