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Olympic park on the cards for Otley
Work to create an ‘Olympics legacy’ centre of sporting excellence in Otley has taken a major step forward.
The town’s sports groups, buoyed by the medal-winning success of local athletes, have been working since London 2012 on plans to deliver Wharfedale’s first dedicated sporting hub.
Now the dream has moved a step closer to reality after Leeds City Council agreed to hold a formal investigation of the proposed site for what is being called the Chevin Olympic Park.
Aimed at catering for as many sports as possible, the park’s role would be to help raise standards across the board. It would include:
- A sports hall and a cycle track
- A dedicated running track and all-weather playing fields
- A gym and fitness studio and meeting rooms.
Steering committee chairman Tony Walker, of Otley Athletic Club, said: “Twelve-months on from the Olympics the country is still talking of its legacy and we want to bring a slice of that to Otley, to help foster the next generation of sportspeople.
“We also have the Tour de France coming past our doorsteps in nine months’ time, once more helping to raise the profile of sport and the importance of it in this country.
“It would also be fantastic if, by next July, everything was in place to begin constructing a sports facility that will become a centre of excellence for Otley and the wider area.”
He added: “While we have a very clear vision of what we want to provide, a lot does depends on the comments back from Leeds.
“Our initial talks with them suggested there were unlikely to be any major issues, and we are hopeful that will remain the case.
“We now have a steering committee with a fantastic range of skills and, once we hear from the city council, we should be in a position to formally announce the preferred location and begin the feasibility study.”
The park’s picturesque location is being kept under wraps until the city council’s work, which will check its suitability for outline planning permission, road access, parking, utility services and drainage, is completed.
The steering group is enlisting the help of Otley’s MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) and Otley Town Council are also backing the project.
Town council leader Councillor John Eveleigh (Lab, Ashfield) said: “It would be really something if this could be pulled off, and if the enthusiasm that I’ve seen at the two meetings I’ve attended can be translated into a viable business plan, the sky is the limit.”
The Chevin Olympic Park grew out of Otley Athletic Club’s Back the Track, post Olympics campaign which was initially focused on getting a dedicated running track in the town. That then snowballed following several meetings attended by representatives from many local sports clubs.
l Residents can show their support on Facebook, by searching for Chevin Olympic Park.
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