Club on track for BMX facility in Larne

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Plans by a local sports club to create a £120,000 purpose-built BMX track in Larne have hit the ground running.

East Coast Raiders BMX Club has approached Larne Borough Council to explore the possibility of securing a long-term lease of the all-weather gravel pitch at Antiville playing fields.

With the local hockey club now playing all their matches at the Greenland Multi Sports Arena, the surface of the pitch at Antiville has deteriorated to such an extent that it is no longer safe to play sports on.

And the BMX club feels the proposed new facility, which will cost in the region of £120,000, will not only help regenerate what is now a derelict area, but will also provide opportunities for people in the surrounding area and beyond to engage in this fast-growing sport.

The club is also confident that it can obtain full capital funding for the proposed track from Community Foundation NI.

Having completed stage one of the grant application process, the club now requires a commitment from the local authority that they will be successful in acquiring a lease for the land.

To this end, East Coast Raiders is set to deliver a detailed presentation to Larne Council in order to showcase their project and answer any questions elected representatives and council officers may have.

Councillors and officers are also to consider paying a visit to a BMX track in Ratoath, as the size of the facility and population of the town are comparable to Larne.

Speaking at the latest meeting of the council’s leisure committee, director of development Linda McCullough indicated that she had a number of concerns regarding the proposal, such as the car park being difficult to access and querying if there was “sufficient capacity”.

Councillor Drew Niblock indicated that the club would be happy to consider alternative sites if the one at Antiville was not suitable for this proposal.

Meanwhile, Councillor Roy Craig stated that project should include improvements to the access road into the playing fields.

Councillor Bobby McKee also enquired if this was a private enterprise project, but was assured that the club was a not-for-profit organisation.

Set up by local BMX competitor Geoff Lynch in October 2012, East Coast Raiders has a current membership of 36 and regularly competes in national competitions in Dublin and Ratoth, Co Meath.