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BMX track to be created on former Bexleyheath tennis courts

PUBLISHED: 16:14 08 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:14 08 March 2019

A CGI impression of what the finished BMX track may look like. Photo: LDRS

A CGI impression of what the finished BMX track may look like. Photo: LDRS

Archant

A disused tennis court in Bexleyheath is set to be given a new lease of life as a BMX track.

Under new plans approved at a planning meeting last week, the old courts in Martens Grove will be renovated into a new bike track.

The club will be run by volunteers and during the week the site will run an outreach programme for local schools and community groups.

Planning officer Mike Watling said that while the land is protected under planning regulations, the new tracks would benefit the community.

He told councillors: “This is a community cycling facility in Martens Grove Park. This is designated as metropolitan open land but this has limited harm on that and will bring in a disused facility for the good of local school children.”

The site will be owned and managed by Bexley Council – which says that no lighting will be installed, instead wanting youngsters to use it during daylight hours.

Neighbours have been split about the proposals – with some wanting it to pedal forward, and others urging the council to hit the brakes.

Three residents objected to the idea, claiming more kids will cause problems for drivers and other people using the nearby play park and that it will lead to vandalism.

A report explained: “The concept follows the BMX Legacy Programme which seeks to teach people to ride bikes and as a pro-active outreach programme. On a Saturday there will be a BMX club, anticipated to run from 10 am to 1pm.

“The remainder of the time, the facility will be accessible to the public, in the same way that the remainder of the park is publicly open.”

A similar scheme has been built in Croydon, which has an average of 266 users a week.

Councillors unanimously backed the proposals, with ward councillor Eileen Pallen welcoming the move.

She said: “Ironically it was a suggestion by a Barnehurst resident that her son had nowhere to ride his bike safely.

“Therefore, I welcome this as it means our young people can ride their bikes safely and not use the roads and pavements as they will be now.”