Up until Autumn 2011 prior to re-development of the Green with Heritage Lottery Funds, youngsters in Silloth used the old Pines behind the lifeboat station in Silloth as a make-shift BMX track. This track was not provided by Silloth Town Council and did not comply with any safety regulations. For these reasons, it was removed and fenced off to make way for the play area now in its place.
Subsequently, young people and parents in Silloth approached Silloth Town Council and attended several meetings to voice their disappointment at losing the dirt track and make a case for a new facility. Youngsters proposed to raise money for the creation of a permanent and compliant track, and asked for the council’s support. Parents who attended these meetings also voiced support for the proposal.
Silloth Town Council were impressed by the enthusiasm and the responsible approach the youngsters were taking. They expressed strong support and asked the youngsters what they would like and where a possible location might be. The children, along with some parents, visited several tracks in the county looking for design ideas. Their experiences provided the framework for a suitable design that would into the space available.
In November 2011, the young folks along with Cllr. Stuart Graham and other parents, completed a sponsored bicycle ride and raised £550, demonstrating the high level of commitment from youngsters, parents and adults in the Town.
Given the high levels of support, a committee for Silloth BMX Club was formed. As a constituted group, the club were now in a position to seek further funding from organisations in the community and elsewhere. Committee members include Stuart Graham, Deputy Mayor (Chair person) David Baker (Treasurer) and Diane Graham (Secretary)
Silloth Town Council suggested the proposal for the BMX track could be included as part of the Green re-generation, and Cllr Stuart Graham, Jason Dixey, the project manager for the Green’s refurbishment and myself in my role as the Community Engagement Officer for the Green began to submit ideas to HLF for approval.
Posters and adverts were distributed around Town and the youngsters presented their ideas at a public meeting. The community consultation was supplemented by an online consultation which I set up. Around 80 online responses were gathered along with additional feedback from the Youth Club and others in the community and BMX report was compiled for Heritage Lottery, making a strong argument for the track to be built.
Heritage Lottery approved the proposal and all the relevant procedures regarding the application have now been approved, including ROSPA checks, topographical surveys, wild life impact surveys, impact on the community, and appropriate plans/designs. In addition, Heritage Lottery approved the procurement process.
All of the above work took a great deal of time and effort to accomplish, however, Silloth Town Council is now in a position to move the project forward to completion. The aim is to provide the best track possible within the budget available.
Lambert Gill plan to be on site on Monday 28th October 2013 to fence and clear the area. A subcontractor, O’Malley’s, will then be on site on Thursday 31st October to start the build phase. It’s expected the build will take around 3 weeks.
To ensure their safety, the Council and parents ask that the youngsters be patient just a little bit longer and keep off the site until the track is completed, hopefully by late November.
The Lights Committee are kindly organising a raffle, with a BMX bike the main prize. The draw will take place during the Christmas Lights Switch on, planned for November 30th.
The Council’s aim is to officially open the track on Saturday 14th December. To mark this very special day for the youngsters of Silloth, who have worked so hard and waited so patiently, a professional BMX Team, ‘The Clan,’ will be displaying their skills. In addition, they will give advice and encouragement to the youngsters during interactive sessions. A climbing wall will also be set up and refreshments – sausage, chips and a drink from Silloth café – will be available for youngsters attending. All young people are encouraged to bring their BMX bikes along to test out the new track.