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Cyclists in cash dash

PUBLISHED: 10:52 24 June 2010 | UPDATED: 11:47 23 August 2010

PARK BID: Jason Nye, Julie Collins and Luke Farey get set for a ride.

PARK BID: Jason Nye, Julie Collins and Luke Farey get set for a ride.

DEVELOPERS of a multi-million pound Cyclopark face a race against time to secure funding for construction before the 2012 Olympics. The park, planned for the former A2 land to the south of Gravesend is to be the focal point of a county drive to encourage

DEVELOPERS of a multi-million pound Cyclopark face a race against time to secure funding for construction before the 2012 Olympics.

The park, planned for the former A2 land to the south of Gravesend is to be the focal point of a county drive to encourage children and adults to get on their bikes, but has faltered over funding issues.

Original estimates placed the cost at £9.2 million and with £4.3 million provided by Kent County Council and £3.1 million from outside sources the balance is £2.4 million short.

Laurence Tricker, Cyclopark Project Manager explained that construction was delayed until the exact amount available was certain.

He said: "What we have secured at the moment is £7.3 million and we will cut our plans to suit that. We don't want to start until everything is secure as otherwise you build one section, then stop, then bring it all in again to build the next."

The shortfall in money is due to a reduced offer of funds than hoped from a Sport England grant, and Kent County Council is considering an offer of £1 million, while also hoping to secure £600,000 in EU grants. It is unlikely the amount secured will be known until November.

He added: "If all things come home to roost we will be around £800,000 short.

"All the elements will have to come together with funding from five different sources then we'll have about 18 months to complete it. Hopefully the planets will align and we will secure the amount we need."

Should funding fall short plans will be adjusted to suit, with cuts such as shorter tracks and less changing rooms likely.

Leading cycling experts from the Kent and the South East were at nearby Shorne Woods Country Park for the launch of Cycle Kent on Friday and received a tour of the Cyclopark, which has been cleared for construction.

Paralympic handcyclist gold medallist Rachel Morris was enthusiastic about the park.

She said: "From a community point of view it is fantastic. For aspiring Olympians or people who just enjoy riding their bikes, there will be something for everyone.

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