An important step on the road to creating Bikepark Cornwall is to commission a professional feasibility study to examine if the project is viable.
We thought it might be useful to set out the background to the feasibility study and the call that went out in November 2016 for people to help pay for it by making a donation on Crowdfunder. We’ve been asked a lot of questions like ‘why is it necessary?’, ‘what will happen with my donation?’, ‘why not just build this and cut out the admin?’.
Here we aim to answer some of these questions and hopefully provide reassurance that this really is a genuine initiative, and worthy of the donations that people very kindly made.
We want Bikepark Cornwall to be the real deal and a place with a future. A proper trail centre with a choice of challenging runs. Somewhere that can offer reliable jobs for the people working there and plenty of smiles for folk who ride there. The focus will be on progressive riding featuring intermediate and advanced trails that challenge, thrill and excite, and keep people coming back for more.
As well as serving up a quality riding experience, it will also need sufficient parking and on site facilities. Anything of this scale requires proper planning and design input. The first part of this is to commission a professional and independent feasibility study. Without this and the associated consultation with regional decision makers and planning authorities, this project can not and will not get underway. Simply put, it’s a condition we’ve been given and it’s non-negotiable.
The recent threat of closure faced by the superb Black Mountains Cycle Centre shows why it is important to go about the planning side of things properly. We are passionate about making Bikepark Cornwall a reality. We want to build something special for Cornwall that will be used and enjoyed by generations of riders. Whilst we’d all much rather just get out there and dig, trying to bypass the planning stages and getting straight into the trail build doesn’t make for a secure future.
Engaging the services of industry experts and professional consultants who know what they are doing is not a cheap business. The feasibility study is a very detailed piece of work and requires a substantial number of dedicated man days both on and off site. It will look at a number of different things including the fun stuff like trail routes, features and design, and the less fun stuff such as business modelling, costs, environmental impact, conservation, planning, permissions, site access, policy, sustainability, community, other user groups, local development strategy, tourism and regional impact. If issues are discovered then the report will document these and set out a way to overcome them. It is much better to do this at the start of the project when they can be sorted out rather than for them to crop up later and potentially bring the project to a halt. All of this goes into producing a report that can be used to support the really important stuff like getting a lease, securing planning permission and obtaining funding for the money to build the site.
So whilst the feasibility study is not particularly exciting and costs a fair bit of money, it is the key that unlocks the door to the next stage and establishes a pathway to a much more exciting thing…. the building and riding of trails!
120 individual donations were made on Crowdfunder ranging from £5 to £100. In total £2,261 was raised with additional funds for the feasibility study being contributed directly by the Bikepark Cornwall team and from private investors. As of December 2016 the feasibility study was commissioned and is on track to be completed by the end of February 2017.
A substantial amount of work has already been undertaken to assess the proposed site and this has not thrown up any issues. However, as with all detailed feasibility studies there is a chance that the outcome could be negative. The study could identify unknown toxic deposits on site, rare species of orchid, special bird breeding habitats etc. Its unlikely but it could even conclude that there is no market for serious off road riding in Cornwall. Until the study is done we won’t know what issues there might be and how they can be sorted. Either way the study has to be commissioned and paid for and this is where we are asking for your help.
Without the belief and support of all the kind and generous people who made a contribution, we would not have been able to get the feasibility study started so a huge “thank you“ to you all. Extra thanks to Cranked Bikes, MuckyNutz, Strong Adolfo’s, The Little Bike Shop, Inside Job Van linings, and Cactus Tongue bike racks for donating prizes for the rewards raffle.
We’ve asked you to place your trust in Bikepark Cornwall and get behind the project. A lot of kind and generous people have done that and we are hugely grateful for your support and your trust. Not only does each and every donation help get Bikepark Cornwall one step closer to becoming a reality by contributing funds, it is also proof that people want this to happen and are willing to step up and get behind it. This is a very powerful message that combined with the fundraising, helps us get through the red tape and create Bikepark Cornwall.