Eastway and After: Riders invited to visit Hog Hill

The last ever event on the Lee Valley Cycle Circuit at Eastway Credit: Mike Wells

Press release from the Eastway Users Group:

On Saturday 12th January all Eastway riders are invited by the London Development Agency to come and see what's being built at Hog Hill. There will be the indy circuit under construction and off-road in the upper area to view. You will be able to look from the ridge down into the greater part of the site which is still off-limits for building work.

Riders will have heard ecological issues are cited in connection to a delayed completion. The upper fields now have the final layout of the shorter road circuit under construction and there will be an indication of the off-road trails marked out on the ground. It's hoped that Ian Warby will be along to describe the wider offroad features in more detail. There is a lot of singletrack for him and the appointed contractor to plan out, so this would be a good time to describe what was good about Eastway. The LDA especially wants to hear the views of young riders, so all those who enjoyed those youth races at Eastway whether on or off-road are particularly invited.

Sadly this won't yet be an opportunity to ride - that won't come until March - but the LDA and Eastway Users Group want you to come along and give your comments. We're still in negotiation over certain aspects of the full road circuit which has been affected by the delays which we know will go on possibly until August time. You will be able to see some of the ground conditions and appreciate the difficulties of developing the full site (hint: Bring some wellies).

Eastway Users Group has been heavily engaged with London Development Agency to ensure that the commitments it secured in May 2006 are being delivered. There has been a whole year when riders were without a devoted facility, which only came to an end with the opening of the temporary facility at Docklands. Some racing provision at Dunton and Hainault did come in to fill the gap, but everybody knows it's not the same as having a full relocation. That can't come soon enough, but in the meantime you can satisfy yourself that you have seen what's to come and that you have made your comments on it.

You can come and see Hog Hill from 10am till 1pm this Saturday. Parking in the site should be available, reached from the new access on Forest Road. Admission is by permission of the contractor (it's still a building site) and you won't be able to ride a bike there this time.

Hog Hill will open in March with a short road circuit of about 750m. This was always intended as a circuit for supervised groups not wishing to use the full 2km circuit which will be completed in August, provided all goes well in this year's newt-clearing season. Riders will see it is going to be a demanding circuit with alpine-style bends or a more direct oval leading straight up to the finish line in front of a full-sized clubhouse.

The clubhouse will be finished a little time after the indy circuit is opened. It is positioned exactly where any billionaire would build that mansion. Not now: This is a top-line facility for cycle sport so you will be able to enjoy the racing from its terraced Southwest-facing frontage or simply take in the wonderful sunset views over towards the City. EUG is particularly concerned to make sure that the details are right for riding. Its members have been attending recently reconvened regular meetings with the LDA and its contractors to track progress and give guidance on what riders need. Things are getting back on-track.

The original design meeting for the layout took place in August 2006, so it's been a frustrating time for the many well-known Eastway riders and organisers who were at that meeting. We're hoping this is now starting to be the final phase of development on the upper field and that the lower areas will be completed soon after the dry weather starts.

Meetings also continue on the Legacy Olympic Park back at Stratford. Three meetings over the last three months of 2007 brought a fulfilment of the progress that began at last June's public meeting convened by EUG for users to make their views known to the ODA. Starting with only a tiny site squeezed by the A12 and the velodrome, the site now has the potential for the road circuit to stretch over the River Lea and to bring a circular off-road link trail around a number of dedicated trail sites N and S of the A12. More buildings and more people around mean this probably won't be the old wilds of Eastway back again, but it's been possible to see huge improvements in the amount of space being offered. Your EUG is waiting on more details and hopes to be able to show some plans and images when they're made available.

Promoters are invited to start thinking about the events at Hog Hill. LB Redbridge as operator continues to be extremely enlightened it its approach to cycle sport. There's no reason to suppose that the same old things will continue, especially since the circuit is intended to cope with on- and off-road events running concurrently. More people cycling more often in wonderful surroundings. Bring it on.

Hope to see you there this Saturday morning.

Directions: IG6 3HR is a nearby postcode. Nearest tube Fairlop ,1 mile W on Forest Road. Driving via A12 turn N on Whalebone Lane at Moby Dick pub lights, then into Romford Road at mini rbt. Hog Hill site is reached via Forest Road which is L turn immediately over brow. No R turn into Forest Road from Romford Rd going S.

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