Dad says BMX track could reduce anti-social behaviour

January 04 2022
Dad says BMX track could reduce anti-social behaviour

The creation of a BMX pump track in Battenhall Park could help reduce anti-social behaviour according to a nearby resident.

Gary Vallance of Battenhall said there was evidence from other parts of the country that such a facility had cut crime rates.

He was keen to see a pump track set up locally following initial discussions and dialogue by councillors trying to drive the project forward.

Mr Vallance said: “My son and I are active, outdoorsy people and modern pump tracks are one of our regular distractions.”

He said a track installed in Rushwick was paid for with £34,000 funding from a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) against a 96-home planning application and installed within a year.

Mr Vallance said: “My son was six when he started riding these kinds of purpose-built tracks.

“Initially we just stumbled across a couple while we were out and about but having seen how much value they provide, we started actively seeking them out.”

He added: “It’s the closest thing to a mini-rollercoaster for anyone on wheels.

“They’re tons of fun, extremely energetic and naturally inclusive.

“A properly designed and built modern pump track is as appropriate for a toddler on a scooter visiting the park with their Nan as a teenager on a mountain bike blowing off steam with their friends.”

He went on: “Fun, exercise and inclusivity are the magic ingredients.

“The overarching benefit is that they give loads of people something exciting and energetic to do in the fresh air, rather than ‘encouraging the next Olympic hopeful’, as is often suggested.”

He added: “We've ridden 60 pump tracks around the UK and never felt unwelcome.

“We always engage with the people there - I see my son enjoy a level of easy interaction I don’t see elsewhere.

“Many of these tracks are located in urban areas suffering low employment and high crime rates and evidence from local authorities is that they have a demonstrable effect in reducing local anti-social behaviour.

“For many young people particularly, these places provide a connection with their community that’s otherwise absent.”

He said: “Given its location, I don’t doubt that a pump track in Battenhall Park would increase the number of kids at Cherry Orchard and Blessed Edward biking or scooting to school - as it has already in Rushwick.

“The further benefits of that are well documented.”

Worcester City Council’s Place and Economic Development Committee is set to discuss a potential pump track for Battenhall Park in the new year.

Gary Vallance and his son, Jacob, aged 10