When the dust settles after the London 2012 Olympic mountain bike racing, the tv cameras stop rolling and the medals handed out, what will happen to the course, designed and built at much expense to bring mountain biking to this little corner of Britain?
The legacy plans, or lack of them, have been a hot topic since it was announced Hadleigh would host the event. Part of London’s winning bid to host the Olympics this year focused on its commitment to legacy, what happens when the Games are over.
As today signals 99 days until the Olympics kicks off, the legacy proposals have been put forward. Essex County Council, in partnership with The Salvation Army, will aim to “bring to life the heritage of Hadleigh Farm and Country Park alongside the legacy of the Olympic Mountain Bike course.”
They propose to make a modified version of the Olympic Mountain Bike course (will they remove some of the rocky technical sections?) open to the public, as part of a wider network of trails for multiple users. This will be balanced be the need to protect and enhance the natural and historic environment. Facilities for visitors and the wider community will be improved.
Here’s the official statement:
“At the heart of the proposals are plans to improve and enhance the network of existing paths and trails across Hadleigh Country Park and Hadleigh Farm, improving access for walkers, cyclists, mountain biking, runners and horse riders. The trail network will include the adapted Olympic Mountain Bike course.
“This will be connected to the Country Park and the wider area by the network of multi-user trails for walkers, cyclists and other users. New walking trails with interpretation panels, enhanced horse riding trails and cross-country running trails will also be provided within the Country Park. The improved trail network also includes enhancements to walking and cycling access between Benfleet and Leigh-on-Sea stations.”
The plans include a proposed hub to act as a main gateway to the trail network.