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The Bristol Family Cycling Centre needs to relocate and one possible site is the Henacre and Merriman’s Drive Open Space, Lawrence Weston.

Bristol Family Cycling Centre (BFCC) is a cycling facility that gives people of all ages and abilities the chance to ride different kinds of bikes in a traffic-free environment. They offer a regular timetable of drop in Learn to Ride and disability sessions, as well as Bikeability training, bike maintenance sessions and volunteering opportunities.

The centre has been operating in Hengrove since 2016, but the arrangement was always temporary and the lease for the site is coming to an end.

Bristol City Council has been investigating new sites for the centre, in hopes of finding a new, bigger location that would allow the centre to provide even more cycling services to Bristol residents, along with the possibility of a new closed loop cycling circuit (CLCC) as part of the development.

There are a limited number of sites in Bristol that meet the criteria for a permanent home. Any new site has to be big enough to house the CLCC, bike storage, workshops, offices for Cycling Centre staff and Changing Places toilet facilities for disabled visitors.

One promising site that the council are looking at covers parts of Henacre Open Space and Merriman’s Drive Open Space.  The site also benefits from an adjacent BMX track and a proposed new cycle route being built by Sustrans and funded by Highways England.

It has a similar profile to the Hengrove site and would allow BFCC to preserve and promote the existing BMX course, install a circuit that could be used by cyclists of all ages and abilities, and potentially open a café and other facilities. It is hoped that a bigger location would also allow for runners and other groups to access the circuit at certain times.

Cllr Kye Dudd said: “The Bristol Family Cycling Centre has always been used by people from all over Bristol and further afield. We always knew that this was a temporary location, and we hope that the centre’s supporters in South Bristol will continue to visit wherever it settles, and that an improved location will allow plenty of new people to try our services too.

“Everyone who has been using the Bristol Family Cycling Centre up until now will still be able to use the facilities at the new location. The Cycling Centre is a valuable resource that’s open to individuals, families, groups and teams who need a high-quality course to practice cycling on – everyone is welcome.”

The site in Lawrence Weston holds a lot of potential for BFCC, and would enable the council to meet goals from our new Sport and Physical Activity Strategy. The strategy promotes opportunities for sport and physical activity as a way to help create a healthier, resilient and more prosperous city.

Developing new environments and venues for physical activity will help to reduce health inequalities and the healthy life expectancy gap, tackle inactivity and help halt the rise in levels of childhood and adult obesity.  BFCC’s services are open and accessible to all and this new location provides the potential to further address some of the inequalities that occur in sport due to gender, age and disability.

Council teams have been assessing the viability of this site and are looking for feedback from the community.  Plans are still in the early stages but we are keen to work with the local community to ensure that any planned facilities complement the area and fit into the Lawrence Weston Neighbourhood Plan.

We are asking local residents, BFCC visitors and the wider Bristol community to provide feedback on the suggested new location and what additional facilities they’d like to see. Once options have been drawn up, there will be a consultation with the public ahead of a proposed formal planning application later in the year.

The survey will close on Wednesday 25 March 2020. If you require a survey in a different format please contact Translation Services on 0117 9036400 or email tsi@bristol.gov.uk. Paper copies are available from Lawrence Weston Youth Centre,  Avonmouth Community Centre and Shirehampton Public Hall.

Press release by Bristol City Council.

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