Funds for new mountain bike track approved

The route will be for mountain bikers and runners.
The route will be for mountain bikers and runners.

Work to create a new mountain biking and cross country track in the grounds of Oakwell Hall could soon be underway.

A grant of more than £50,000 was approved, to enable the first phase of the project to begin, at a meeting of the Batley and Spen District Committee last week.

Phase one would include the development of the 2.5km trail, with small jumps, rollers and berms, snaking its way around the “under-used” Toft Ings section of the country park.

If the track is well-received, phase two would begin in Summer 2018 and would involve sculpture artwork being installed along the route.

A report to the meeting said the track would “provide a fun and exhilarating experience for mountain bikers and runners of all ages and abilities”.

It said the project would attract more visitors to the area and help to increase the length of time people stay at the park, boosting spending at the shop and cafe.

The plans attracted mixed views from our Facebook readers. Paul Heeson said: “Fantastic idea. Oakwell is already used by a lot of mountain bikes. A good idea to segregate for safety. All users can co-exist and give the kids somewhere safe to develop their skills.”

And Megan Haytch wrote: “About time they spent some money around here on good things.” Mick Batley said: “This so called under-used section of the park is a nice quiet walk and very popular with dog walkers.”

And Victoria Dilnot said: “What about putting the money back into our old folk n care instead of something bikers can get elsewhere locally for free.”

Kirklees Museum and Galleries Service and the Kirklees Adventurous Activity Team will develop the track, with a specialist company carrying out construction.

It will be funded using the New Homes Bonus, a government grant given to the council as an incentive for house building in the area.