THERE is good news for sports enthusiasts this month, as work starts on the first phase of improvements to Palmer Park Sports Stadium.
Following the discovery of a structural fault on a floodlight in April this year, all floodlights were removed as a safety precaution. These will now be replaced as part of the package of renovations to improve the stadium for both cycling and athletics.
The council’s contractor started work this week to install the replacement lighting, with an anticipated completion date early in October, in good time for the shorter winter months where lighting is necessary for clubs to continue with evening sessions.
A further second phase of improvements are also in the pipeline. The current cycle safety fencing at the stadium’s velodrome needed to be renewed. British Cycling have offered to fund the estimated £130,000 replacement cost of the fencing bringing it up to British Cycling revised standards.
As part of the proposed funding agreement, the council have set aside £220,000 in match funding for improvements to the velodrome and stadium lighting, making a total potential investment of £350,000 over the next few months. As well as match funding, the council will also enter into a 10 year agreement to ensure track cycling continues at Palmer Park velodrome.
The work is part of the council’s plan to Build a Better Reading, by improving leisure facilities and driving up participation.
Paul Gittings, Lead Councillor for Sport, said: “I’m delighted work has started on the replacement lights and that we’ve secured further improvements to Palmer Park Sports Stadium. We have acted swiftly after representations from the clubs and organisations which use Palmer Park, and whose custom we so value. We want to encourage our residents to be as active as possible and the provision of good quality, readily accessible sports facilities underpins this ambition.”