Extended BMX track approved for Summerhill as sport grows in popularity in Hartlepool

Plans to extend the BMX track at a popular country park in Hartlepool and provide increased space for spectators have been given the green light.

Saturday, 5th October 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Saturday, 5th October 2019, 9:00 am
File picture of a BMX rider in action at Summerhill

Hartlepool Borough Council planning officers have approved proposals submitted by bosses at Summerhill Visitor Centre to develop and improve the existing BMX track at the site.

The national standard BMX track is part of the 120-acre Summerhill Country Park site in the town which also features man-made climbing boulders, ponds, forest school areas, bird feeding and an outdoor activities team.

The plans, which were submitted earlier this year, involve extending part of the track which will ensure it is both safe and fit to cater for the increasing number of users, which include those attending national events at the site.

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A planning report by council officer Ryan Cowley noted the proposals have now been given the approval, adding there was no objections to them.

It said: “Whilst the proposals may result in an increase in the number of spectators attending the course (or congregating in this location), it is not considered that this would have a significant detrimental impact on the amenity or privacy of neighbouring land.

“The application is considered to be acceptable with respect to the relevant material planning considerations and is considered to be in accordance with the relevant policies of the adopted Hartlepool Local Plan 2018.”

Proposals will involve a large quantity of soil being imported onto the site, which will be used to widen the top of the berms (the large banked corners located on the track).

In widening the berms, more space will be made for the increasing number of spectators who attend both national and locally organised competitions.

The BMX track was last refurbished in a 2013 scheme and the latest plans will ‘enhance elements’ from the previous work, with the scale of the facility ‘not being significantly altered.’

The BMX facility encompasses an area approximately 4,700m2 in size and the latest plans will increase the footprint of the track to around 5,000m.

A design and access statement on behalf of the applicant said the plans will provide a boost to the growing site.

It said: “A growing number of spectators currently attend the national, regional and local competitions that Summerhill hosts and additional areas to accommodate spectator numbers will allow for improved safety around the track.

“These proposals seek to enhance the existing use of the BMX facility by providing a number of safety and maintenance improvements in and around the berm areas.

“The resulting works will improve the viability of the site as a competition venue.”