Hawkenbury pump track moves a stage nearer to reality

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CYCLISTS are a stage nearer to enjoying a ‘pump track’ in Hawkenbury Recreation Ground after an early meeting proved successful.

Last week, members of Hawkenbury Village Association met with councillors to discuss the feasibility of building the undulating course on land on next to artificial pitches.

Proponents hope the facility will provide a space for teenagers to exercise and have fun, which could discourage antisocial behaviour.

Initial estimates suggest the course would cost between £55,000 and £109,000 [with £60,000 being the most likely figure] and open in late 2019.

Dean Kenward, Chairman of Hawkenbury Village Association, said: ‘The meeting assessed the feasibility of the site within the Recreation Ground with a view to getting a concept design done.’

The project ties into the 250-home Hawkenbury Farm project with developer Berkley Homes legally required to make financial contributions to improve community areas.

The Village Association is in talks with pump track builders Velosolutions.

Pump tracks have proved popular in other towns. Hawkenbury’s could be used by all ages but would be aimed at those aged 11 to 18.

Mr Kenward continued: ‘The wider community has been very supportive [to plans first reported by the Times last year].

‘The only comments against have come from neighbours who feel the track might overlook their gardens.’

He added: ‘It will serve a purpose and not impact on the park’s other uses. A pump track has been built in Glasgow and there was a drop in antisocial behaviour as it kept users engaged in activities.’

The Village Association will now look to create a concept design, along with associated drawings and photographs.

Further consultations would be held with the public ahead of more advanced plans being drawn up and a planning application being sought.

Park ward Cllr Tracy Moore said on Twitter: ‘We will gather the views of the community. First it makes sense to get a concept to design and consult on.

‘Changes coming to Hawkenbury include expansion to playing pitches and wider paths. Maybe a pump track is possible too. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council will consult.’

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