Schoolchildren joined Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams to officially launch a new learn-to-ride track on a Mansfield estate today (Thursday 2 February).
The facility, off Egmanton Road, on the Bellamy Road estate, is aimed at helping children aged two to eight to learn to cycle in a safe, traffic-free environment.
It was devised after consulting with residents about how best to help families in the neighbourhood and is part of a multi-million scheme to redevelop the centre of the estate with new homes and retail outlets along with the £290,000 of improvements to recreational amenities on the estate.
A bicycle 'library' is also being set up so that families with children who don't have access to bikes, can also use the track. Local schools will also be able to use the track and loan bikes for bike ability sessions.
Mayor Andy said: “These new facilities and housing will bring about a huge improvement to the quality of life for people on this estate.
"As a council, with an eye on improving the environment and wellbeing of all our residents, we want to encourage more families to be physically active.
"Cycling is a brilliant activity. Not only is it an effective way to get fit, it is also kind to the environment as we all seek ways to tackle climate change."
The new track was partly funded by British Cycling’s Places to Ride programme and EEM Ltd, a not-for-profit procurement consortium, of which the council is a partner. As part of its service, EEM accumulates a pot of money which is shared out among partners for community projects.
Steve Johnson, the Cycling Delivery Manager for British Cycling in the East Midlands, and Rebecca Dermody-Simmons, the CEO of EEM, were among those attending the official launch the track today.
Also there were the council's CEO, Adam Hill; Head of Health and Communities, David Evans; Cllr John Smart, ward councillor for Ransom Wood and pupils from St Peter's Church of England Primary Academy Mansfield.
Rebecca Dermody-Simmons said: “We are so pleased to support the council to deliver this innovative project to boost wellbeing in the Mansfield community. It is clear that the track adds real vibrancy to the area and will benefit hundreds of children by providing a safe environment to socialise and be physically active.”
The track, and a new play area which opened last year next to it, forms part of a multi-million pound scheme to upgrade the estate.
The first stage of the scheme saw a new play area created and then the cycle track on a "village green" area. The last stage of the Bellamy Road Community Heart Housing Development will see 22 high quality, eco-friendly and affordable family council homes built around the green.
The scheme includes demolishing existing shops and five flats in Egmanton Road and building a new single storey parade of retail outlets with a convenience store, cafe and takeaway.
There will also be a community orchard planted and a new traffic-calmed through road connecting Thorpe Road and Egmanton Road, which will allow for improved bus connections through this part of the estate.
All the new homes, comprising three four-bedroom semi-detached houses, eight three-bedroom semi-detached houses, nine two-bedroom semi-detached houses and two two-bedroom detached houses, will be offered at affordable rents and will be owned and managed by Mansfield District Council.
They are a key part of its priority neighbourhoods focus and strategic priorities for Growth, Wellbeing, Aspiration and Place and will align with government carbon reduction targets and to the Future Homes Standard, expected to be adopted nationally by 2025.