Plans to build a £300,000 pump track in Hawick for cyclists have moved up a gear now they’ve been given the go-ahead by council planners.
The pump track – so called as riders are encouraged to get round it by pumping their bodies up and down rather than pedalling or pushing with their feet – will feature ramps, jumps and banked corners for users on BMX or mountain bikes, skateboards or scooters.
It will be built on the site of the old tennis courts in Wilton Lodge Park if the Hawick community pump track group is able to raise the money needed.
The group has already been given a £200,000 donation by Scottish Borders Council, owner of the former tennis courts, and is currently fundraising to find the further £100,000 required to have the track’s layout built.
Ben Wilson, the group’s secretary, said: “The committee are absolutely enthralled about the news, this being a pretty big milestone.
“We’ve put in a lot of work over the past years, and it’s great when you get news of successful effort.
“We’ve still a fair way to go, but it’s one step closer.
“This planning permission has opened up opportunities to tap into certain funds that need planning as a requirement.
“The facility will be available to use from kids on balance bikes all the way to as old as you like.
“The facility itself comprises two tracks – one smaller track for kids on balance bikes and people new to the sport, which encourages progression in skills, enabling them to move onto the larger track, and even the larger track has progression from learners to elite riders, offering something for all.
“The benefits to the community of the town are great, especially the often-forgotten-about teenagers.
“This facility offers a place to engage in a sport improving social skills alongside health and wellbeing.”
The group has further plans to install floodlights for the track, but they would need separate planning permission after being dropped from the proposals now given the thumbs-up, and a bat survey is due to be carried out next month to determine if they are viable.
Mr Wilson added that although this is a major milestone for the group, it hasn’t set an opening date yet, explaining: “In terms of opening, I couldn’t commit to a date at this stage as it is all dependent on successful funding.
“When we have everything in place, there will be plenty of time to publicise and create a hype.”