Revamp bid to improve Summerhill bike track

BMX bike riders
BMX bike riders

A POPULAR BMX track could be in line for a major revamp – but only if funding bids for up to £75,000 are successful.

The 1,200ft long track at Summerhill Country Park, off Catcote Road, in Hartlepool, was built to national standards but it has deteriorated over time and it needs maintenance work.

It also needs to be redesigned in a bid to once again meet national standards.

Hartlepool Borough Council officers are working closely with the North East BMX club, which is based at the site, on plans, but they need £75,000 of funding to carry out the work.

The plan is to secure outside funding for the work and bids have been submitted.

In April, an application in the name of the club was made to BIFFA, a landfill trust operator who were offering grants, and the club has been invited to stage two of the process for a maximum grant of £50,000.

The deadline for the submission is July 5. Officers are also looking at other funding streams.

The course which contains obstacles like jumps, table-tops and tight bends is one of the longest in the country.

The council has carried out some maintenance to the track over the years but the majority of the work has been done by the club members.

The North East BMX club – which has 35 members and has produced three British Champions – has been based at Summerhill since 2005.

Club members come from Gateshead, Newcastle, Darlington and Bishop Auckland to hone their skills.

Independent councillor Hilary Thompson, portfolio holder for culture, leisure and tourism, will discuss the plans at a meeting tomorrow.

A report by Pat Usher, the council’s sport and recreation manager, said: “The proposed redesign and improvements to the BMX Track at Summerhill aims to provide one of the best racing facilities in the country while at the same time providing an excellent open access free resource for anyone interested in BMX riding.

“In doing so, officers hope to attract national events as well as becoming a recognised centre for regional coaching courses.

“It will also provide an excellent resource for local young people.”

Subject to funding, a plan to re-design the track and improve spectator areas has been developed.

Specialist companies have been approached for quotes and they have ranged between £50,000 and £100,000.

The portfolio meeting will be held at 10am at the Civic Centre.