‘Tyred’ community facility in Sopwell receives brand-new cycle track

March 17, 2023

A £25,000 boost from the Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund has seen Cottonmill Community & Cycling Centre, in Sopwell, St Albans, create a new cycle track for the community to enjoy.   

The much-needed funding has enabled the completion of an outdoor all-ability cycle track, which forms part of a wider redevelopment of the facility. 

©Licensed to simonjacobs.com. Photo credit: Simon Jacobs

The wider project includes the restoration of existing dirt jumps and a cyclo-cross course, as well as an upgrade of a main hall which features a café, kitchen area and Changing Places toilets. In addition, the facility also now has wudu wash facilities for members of the Muslim community to carry out ablutions before prayer, plus a multi-faith quiet room for personal reflection or prayer.  

Mike Pendock, strategic planning manager at Tarmac, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to add the all-ability cycle track to the Cottonmill Community & Cycling Centre. The benefits of physical exercise and being more active are huge, no matter your age. We look forward to residents and the wider community taking advantage of all that the new track has to offer. 

“Supporting projects like this and giving back to areas in which we operate is a key part of what we do. The Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund has made all this possible and we hope the all-ability cycle track and newly renovated Cottonmill Community & Cycling Centre is used by generations of Sopwell for years to come.” 

Andrew Rice, Verulam Cycling Club secretary, said: “With the Cycle Hub and Verulam Cycling Club on-site, we hope to see a greater take up of cycling and active travel across the community. There is a range of different cycling disciplines to get involved in, including off-road cycling on the traffic-free cyclo-cross track, along with BMX cycling on the dedicated pump track.  

“The centre also offers a range of additional services, one being a training facility for local cycling and triathlon clubs, as well as offering a cycle workshop that teaches the community how to cycle and how to repair and maintain their bike. The facility really does offer so much under one roof – we’re so pleased with the overall offering and can’t wait to see the positive impact on the Cottonmill community and beyond!” 

©Licensed to simonjacobs.com. Photo credit: Simon Jacobs

The £2.3 million centre was redeveloped by owners, St Albans City and District Council, with the support of the local community and is managed by leisure operator Everyone Active. 

Councillor Helen Campbell, Chair of the Public Realm Committee, said: “This was an ambitious project which we are thrilled is now up and running. The centre is an outstanding facility and we would thank Tarmac for providing the funds for the highly-popular cycle track.” 

Mat Daniels, manager at the Cycle Hub, said: “We’re over the moon with the end result, and so pleased Tarmac was able to support the Cottonmill Community & Cycling Centre with such a generous donation. The all-ability cycle track is intended to a be safe off-road space for the local community of all ages and abilities, including adapted bikes, to learn to ride, develop their riding skills, and partake in physical exercise to suit their individual needs. 

“Herts Cycling is currently delivering a series of ‘Learn to Ride’ sessions on-site, bringing a diverse range of people of all ages to the Cycling Hub. Many are women and children from various backgrounds who want to learn how to ride a bike for the first time. We’re pleased to be able to offer a safe space for them to learn and build on their confidence in this way. 

“A huge thank you to all involved in the project, what a fantastic achievement for us all!” 

Michelle Mackenzie, chair of the Cottonmill and Sopwell Hub group said: “Tarmac’s generous contribution was a huge help in reaching our funding target. We campaigned since 2018 to get our new centre; and it is already very well used. Local groups now use the centre for our local food bank, Warm Hub sessions with free supermarket rescued food for all; regular children’s film sessions; coffee mornings; community nights; as well as festival activities and a Friday night youth club – which also uses the cycle tracks.” 

The Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund is just the latest in a number of trusts, corporate entities and other benefactors to have supported the project, some of which include British Cycling and St Albans District Council. 

Through the Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund, Tarmac donates around £1 million each year to community projects UK wide. The fund is open to applicants who meet the criteria for projects delivering community benefit. For more information, visit www.entrust.org.uk or email det@derbyshire.gov.uk