A petition has been set up to call for a velodrome to be constructed for Birmingham 2022 ©change.org

A petition has been set-up calling for a velodrome to be constructed in the West Midlands for use at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. 

Established by Charlie Dickens on Change.org, the petition has been addressed to Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council and the chairman of the successful Birmingham 2022 bid team.

It claims construction of a venue would help to develop the sport in a region with a population of 5.6 million people but no indoor velodrome.

"Track cycling within the West Midlands can only develop by having investment into modern facilities," the petition states.

"As part of Birmingham Cycling Revolution there is a stated aim to have five per cent of all trips taken by bicycle before 2022.

"The Velo Birmingham cycle sportive was a huge success with 15,000 cyclists participating.

"Due to new indoor velodromes within the UK there has been a huge increase in female and Paralympic track cyclists but the West Midlands is being left behind.

"Modern velodromes support multi-sport facilities and are used for various non-sporting events too.

"A new indoor cycling track would encourage people from all backgrounds to try this great sport. Children from socially deprived backgrounds will not be able to travel to London to watch the track cycling at the Commonwealth Games."

When Birmingham was awarded the Games last month, Ward confirmed that track cycling would be staged 136 miles away at the Velodrome built for London 2012 on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Birmingham 2022 revealed last month that track cycling would take place in London at the Games ©Getty Images
Birmingham 2022 revealed last month that track cycling would take place in London at the Games ©Getty Images

It was claimed this was due to the lack of a suitable facility in the Midlands city and wider region, with the velodrome in Derby, constructed in 2015, considered to be too small.

Converting the Arena Birmingham in the city centre into a temporary velodrome was also considered, but ultimately London was chosen.

The petition, currently approaching 3,000 signatures, names four-time world champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Hugh Porter and Olympians Jess Varnish and Andy Tennant as cyclists who have come from the region to compete at the highest level of the sport.

It is claimed that without a modern facility, less children will have the chance to reach the standard of those athletes, as well as missing out on the chance to stage “world-class cycling events” which would boost the local economy.

The petition asserts that velodromes can be used as a multi-sport facility by hosting basketball, netball, table tennis and boxing, as well as staging non-sporting events, such as music concerts.

Former International Cycling Union President Brian Cookson has been quoted as supporting the drive for a velodrome.

"I am absolutely certain that Birmingham deserves and needs a velodrome of its own," Cookson, also a former President of British Cycling, states in the petition.

"Cycling is a wonderful sport and pastime, and the West Midlands region has always produced cyclists of the highest levels of ability.

"But without modern facilities of the requisite standard, future generations will miss out."

The petition claims the funds to build the velodrome could "potentially be acquired from pre-existing sporting budgets within the Birmingham Organising Committee Commonwealth Games Ltd and British Cycling", which is claimed would mean no council tax budgets would be affected.

Former UCI President Brian Cookson has been quoted as supporting the petition ©Getty Images
Former UCI President Brian Cookson has been quoted as supporting the petition ©Getty Images

While it marks a rare case of a petition being established calling for, rather than opposing the construction of a venue for a multi-sport event, one of the main sticking points over any potential velodrome would be the four-year time frame to plan and build a venue in time for the Games.

Birmingham did, however, unveil plans for a £60 million ($84.5 million/ €68.5 million) Smethwick Commonwealth Aquatic Centre to be built for the Games.

The aquatic site, set to feature a 50-metre swimming pool, a 25m diving pool and have a capacity of 5,000, will be built on the Londonderry Playing Fields in Smethwick in Sandwell, approximately 3.5 miles from the centre of Birmingham.

The centre is also expected include two activity studios, a 12-court sports hall, a 125-station gym, a ladies-only gym, an indoor cycling studio, a sauna/steam room and a café.

Birmingham had claimed during their bid that it already has 95 per cent of its facilities in place for the Games, with construction of a velodrome having not been included.

Track cycling has earned a reprieve for the Games in 2022, having been missed off the programme under Durban’s plans.

The South African city were stripped of the Games last year after failing to meet financial commitments.

It is not the only petition to have been established in recent weeks regarding the Games, with a seperate effort having been aimed at convincing the Commonwealth Games Federation and Birmingham 2022 to include shooting on the programme.