• Lady Whistleblower of Entry Hill

Don't fence me in....

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above Don't fence me in Let me ride through the wide-open country that I love Don't fence me in

La la-la-lah la-la-la-la-la-lah……apologies. I got carried away with a bit of Cole Porter there while I was musing on fences. Or more exactly, musing on where the fence has gone from the plan of the proposed Bath Bike Park. Some eagle-eyed folk have noticed that on more recent versions of the plan posted on the consultation website, the fence around the bike trails has disappeared.

Apparently, this is because they don’t know exactly where the fence is going to go – we’ve been told by our local councillors and others that nothing is yet fixed, and that the precise arrangement of the various elements of the bike park and the community resources will depend upon the survey feedback and the contaminated land survey.

But we have also been told that to make the Bath Bike Park a financial success, the overall balance of the pay-to-enter and the and free facilities will need to be pretty much the same as shown in the concept plan. After all, this is the basis for the business plan that underpins the decision made by BANES Council to choose Pedal Progression to operate a mountain bike park on the site. The Council simply cannot afford to continue to support leisure facilities – and need these to be profit making. In the case of Entry Hill, this includes paying interest on the Council’s capital investment in the development of the site.

It is really hard to see how this can happen without a fence. So the visitors who come and pay to ride on the new downhill tracks, practice their moves on the jump track, or indulge in some adrenaline-fuelled action on the pump track will have to do so behind a fence. And the free-to-access spaces will be outside the fence. There are practical reasons for this too – do we really want dogs and little kids wandering across the downhill bike tracks? Or keen local bikers hefting their bikes over the gate to ride the site when it is officially closed? Probably not.

It doesn’t take much to work the need for a fence. So why leave it off of the plan? Could it be because it shows very clearly just how much of the useable part of the site will be inside the fence? There I go, musing on fences again. Give me land, lots of land.......

NB We might have lost the fence, but I did notice that the plans for the site put up for consultation now includes a zip wire. You win some, you lose some as they say.

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