THE campaign for a velodrome in the West Midlands is building after activists handed a petition to Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward.

Campaigners handed a 6,000-strong signature petition to the authority for a Commonwealth Games legacy velodrome to be built in the region.

The campaign started after it was announced that track cycling events for the games would be held at the Lea Valley velopark in London, meaning fans from the West Midlands face a 270-mile round trip if they want to watch the events live.

Original plans were to campaign for a competition velodrome to be built in time for the Games – though the council have made it clear that this is not possible due to funding restrictions, amongst other reasons.

Black Country cyclists at the head of the campaign

As such the new campaign has focussed on the construction of a legacy velodrome, hoping to capitalise on a predicted surge in interest in cycling after the Games in 2022.

The petition has attracted several high-profile backers from the world of cycling.

Campaigner Charlie Dickens said: “The main thing is that they said they didn’t want a 4,000 seater competition velodrome.

“And with the feasibility study, it would be nice if they could come up with some kind of compromise proposal, that still allows for cycling provision to still be improved in the area, and still has some kind of legacy from the Commonwealth Games.

“At the minute there’s not really any plans for anything, so we need to bring British cycling round to this way of thinking.

“Because British cycling are the governing body, nothing will get done without their support anyway.

“We could get a million signatures, but if the governing body don’t want to do anything, then it won’t get done.

“This is an ongoing campaign that continues to garner support, particularly because we have widened that net of people that are involved.

“Hopefully there will be enough to convince them, which is obviously the aim, and we’re doing this to put the best possible case forward and then see what happens.”