Outdoor sports centre plan for Burnley country park

An example of the wire-driven wakeboarding equipment proposed for Rowley Lake (s).

An example of the wire-driven wakeboarding equipment proposed for Rowley Lake (s).

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A BURNLEY country park could become a centre of excellence for outdoor sports including wakeboarding and cycling.

The ambitious plans, to be discussed by councillors on Tuesday, could see two areas within the Brun Valley Forest Park, including Rowley Lake, transformed into outdoor sports centres. Funding has already been secured for a cable-operated wakeboarding facility at the lake, which could be up and running as early as next year. Instead of being pulled along by a motorboat, wakeboarders – who ride a flat board across the surface of the water – would be carried across by an overhead cable.

The wakeboarding scheme would be known as Wake Brun Valley and would form the first phase of the project with Burnley one of only five places in the country to secure initial funding for the facility.

A club would then be set up to offer coaching and equipment hire and council bosses hope the lakeside centre could be further developed to add canoeing, orienteering, trail running, angling and triathlon to the activities based there.

The second part of the vision is to create a multi-discipline cycling centre that will include a 1km closed circuit cycle track and a BMX track, as well as access to mountain bike trails within the forest park.

A cycling club to cater for and develop cycle sports, recreational cycling and health projects are also part of the proposals while there could also be the potential for a “Wheels for All” centre hosting a disability cycling club. The centre would also cater for outdoor education programmes, including Duke of Edinburgh schemes.

The overall project, which is dependent on external funding being secured, will be split into smaller prioritised schemes. The council is consulting with the park’s Friends group and other interested parties.

Coun. John Harbour, Executive member for leisure and culture, said: “We have an ambitious vision for Brun Valley Forest Park – now we have to find the funds to make it a reality. Balancing the needs of a wide range of users from those that want to be active across the lake to those people who want a quiet walk, will be key.

“If successful, this will provide Burnley with an outstanding outdoor sports centre that would attract visitors from a wide area. It’s excellent news that we’re one of only five successful bids for initial funding for the wakeboarding project. We now have to build on this by exploring other funding avenues to take this exciting project forward.”

Burnley Council’s Executive is recommended to agree council officers should go ahead with an application for funding from the Sport England Inspired Facilities Fund towards creating the wakeboarding and water sports centre.

Officers will also be asked to pursue further funding opportunities for the cycling centre and other parts of the project.