Essex: Mountain bikers will be able to pedal Olympic course at Hadleigh Farm

THE London 2012 mountain biking venue at Hadleigh, Essex, is the focus of the county’s Olympic legacy.

Essex County Council, in partnership with The Salvation Army, has secured planning permission to retain and adapt the course for public use.

The scheme includes expanding and enhancing Hadleigh Country Park – there are plans for a visitor centre, cafe and bike hire shop. But the authority yesterday refused to discuss how else the Olympics would benefit Essex.

The East Anglian Daily Times asked for an interview with Stephen Castle – ECC’s cabinet member for London 2012 – to press him on what the county’s plans are for capitalising on the success of the Games.

After repeated efforts to contact him over the weekend, Mr Castle spoke to the EADT briefly yesterday but said he would be making a fuller statement later.

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A spokeswoman, commenting on plans to expand Hadleigh Country Park, said: “We are delighted with the decision from the planning committee.

“As we watch the stunning images of the historic landscape at Hadleigh being beamed around the world, Essex residents can be proud not just of hosting the exciting and challenging London 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike events but proud of the promise of a legacy which will give a future to the mountain bike track and other users of Hadleigh Country Park by opening up more land to public access.

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“Also the project will benefit the environment, by enabling historic and natural environment improvement projects.”

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