Work begins on Derby's 'most exciting' £22m velodrome complex
CONSTRUCTION work on Derby's £22 million sports arena – billed as the city's "most exciting" leisure development in 40 years – will finally get under way today.
The 156,000 sq ft arena at Pride Park, which will feature a velodrome at its core, is expected to ready by spring 2014.
Derbyshire construction firm Bowmer and Kirkland won the contract to build the arena in July.
Yesterday, director Robert Kirkland signed the contract along with Councillor Martin Repton, cabinet member for leisure and culture at Derby City Council.
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The final go-ahead came after the Environment Agency gave its backing to the project, which had been thrown into doubt when the city's Labour group took control of the council in May.
Mr Kirkland said he was thrilled that building work could finally start.
He said: "As a Derbyshire-based company, it gives us a real sense of pride to work with the city council to build this exciting arena, which will be available to everyone in the region."
The construction work was starting just as Sport England announced it was investing £3 million in the project, through its Iconic Facilities Olympic and Paralympic legacy fund.
Mr Repton said that the arena would ensure Derby enjoyed a lasting legacy on the back of London 2012, which would bring with it a number of benefits.
He said: "This multi-sports arena represents a multi-million-pound investment, which in these difficult times will create many temporary, part-time and full-time jobs.
"This is one of a number of initiatives that the council is pursuing to do our bit to build this city out of recession.
"Without doubt, the resulting leisure strategy will deliver the most exciting and significant leisure developments for the city in the last 40 years.
"The new state-of-the-art facilities will act as a catalyst for positive change to meet the aspirations of hundreds of thousands of people.
"These facilities will be a shining beacon to inspire a new generation of sports men and women to embrace healthy lifestyles, to enjoy themselves and possibly become gold medal winners themselves."
The arena is one part of the city council's overall sporting strategy. The other half will see an Olympic-sized swimming pool created at the Riverlights complex.
The venues are needed to replace the city's ageing Moorways Sports Centre and Queen's Leisure Centre.