Kidderminster-based MEP James Carver is backing a campaign to build a velodrome in the West Midlands in time for Birmingham’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
The UKIP Euro MP, who represents the West Midlands, said he was “delighted” to see talented Kidderminster cyclist 14-year-old Kinga Ingram raising the profile of the online petition calling for a facility in the region.
Mr Carver said: “Birmingham 2022 have previously said the cycling event would take place in London and they have concerns about compliance and economic viability of building a velodrome.
“But the arguments for such a facility are compelling and not to have one would amount to a huge missed opportunity for Birmingham, the region, for cycling and cyclists, other sports and the wider community.
“An indoor velodrome would not only enable our cyclists to be at the heart of the Commonwealth Games experience but would also encourage more people to take up cycling and create a multi-purpose venue for other sports and various non-sporting events.”
Almost 5,000 people have signed the change.org petition and a cross-party group of MPs have lobbied British Cycling calling for a velodrome to be built in the region as the nearest one is in the East Midlands at the Derby Arena.
Mr Carver, UKIP’s former Commonwealth spokesman, added: “It seems unfair that other parts of the country have indoor Velodromes, and yet, even as we look forward to hosting a competition as big as the Commonwealth Games, there are no plans to rectify the anomaly.
“All the West Midlands has is the 70-year-old outdoor track at Halesowen, which is great for grassroots track cycling, but we urgently need a modern indoor track to enhance cycling as a sport and as part of a healthy lifestyle.”
Kinga, aged 14, who is ranked fifth in the country for her age group told last week’s Shuttle she believed a velodrome closer to home would “inspire” other Wyre Forest youngsters to take up the sport.
Mr Carver, who is writing to Sports Minister Tracey Crouch urging support, said: “Well done to Kinga for raising the issue locally - I hope people will sign the petition - and I wish her every success in her cycling and in her bid to compete in the Birmingham games.”