A multi-purpose open-air cycle centre could finally come to Hereford if new plans are approved.

Intended to help cyclists progress from learning to ride on a simulated road environment, up to competitive road racing, the Hereford Cycle Hub will also feature an area for riders to develop their mountain biking skills.

Centrepiece of the £1.4 million facility will be a kilometre-long, six-metre-wide loop circuit, formed of three sub-loops.

A modified timber-clad shipping container will serve as a social hub, while another container will provide changing facilities, and a third will act be used for bike storage, the three giving onto an open decked seating area.

All this will lie within the existing racecourse track, in an area already home to a nine-hole golf course, athletics track and artificial-turf sports pitch. All of these will benefit from improved access brought by the project, the application says.


The largely flat site would gain a new man-made mound, “to improve the diversity of the track and provide more challenging inclines”, the application says, while perimeter lighting would extend the centre’s hours of use, particularly in winter.

The plans have had a long gestation, having first been mooted at a public meeting in 2014.

A report on the business case in 2016 by consultant Owen Davies, the agent for the current bid, highlighted a lack of facilities in the city for road or mountain biking, or cyclo-cross.

Yet within 30 miles of Hereford, there were 48 cycling clubs with over 3,000 members, it said.

A dedicated local site “would enable local club coaching to grow”, “would have a regional reach into areas of Gloucestershire, Powys and Monmouthshire without access to their own facilities” and could also host competitive events, it said.

The bid was put forward by non-aligned Herefordshire councillor Jim Kenyon, who says the bid, along with the proposed eastern road bridge of the Wye, have been his two goals in local politics.

“Hereford City Council promised £50,000, and another £200,000 is coming from Herefordshire Council’s public health budget,” he said.

“They see the benefit of benefit of people getting fit, and we may even see people being prescribed this.”

British Cycling and Sports England “then came in on the back of that” with a further grant of £500,000, Coun Kenyon said, adding: “It will meet their racing standards.”

This combined sum will then be match-funded by the Government’s Stronger Towns Fund, which is supporting a range of projects around the city including the transformation of the main museum and library.

The Cycle Hub is intended to be financially self-sustaining, through events, hire to clubs, and catering, Coun Kenyon said, pointing out that the running and maintenance costs “will be very low”.

With permission granted, “there could be shovels in the ground by April, and completion by autumn”, he said.

The project will now be taken forward by Halo Leisure Services, a non-profit social enterprise which runs sport and leisure facilities across Herefordshire including the adjacent Hereford Leisure Centre, which will provide car parking for the new facility.

A spokesperson for Halo Leisure said: “We have worked with all of our funding partners including British Cycling to develop a plan to ensure the new and exciting facility will be sustainable for the long term.

“We are working with the project team to confirm the construction phase and all of the indications at this stage are that the scheme will be delivered in 2022.”