AN ONLINE petition for a new mountain bike park in Didcot has gained more than 700 signatures.

Keen mountain biker Dan Andrews lives in Didcot and works for University of Oxford as a deputy manager at a science lab based at the Kennedy Institute and he wants a mountain bike park in Didcot.

He spends his spare time cycling on the Ridgeway and scouting out new places and tracks to take his mountain bike to practice technique.

The idea of having a mountain bike park in Didcot was sparked after Mr Andrew discovered a big bike track in Southampton and he thought it was a facility missing from South Oxfordshire, despite it being a popular sport in the area.

He said: “There are quite a lot of mountain bikers in our area, I think that is down to being close to the Ridgeway. The Ridgeway is great for building up your fitness, but in terms of developing bike skills it is not that great.

“To do that you need to go further afield to a dedicated bike park, places like Swinley Forest in Bracknell which you need to drive to and that is not good for the younger generation.”

The Didcot mountain biker wants to create a space for all ages and abilities to practice their bike skills and improve their fitness.

He said: “The benefits of any sport are well defined and mountain biking is certainly no different in terms of physical and mental health.”

The keen mountain biker emailed some Didcot town councillors with the idea and he had a mix of responses, so he started a petition.

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On Monday evening the petition for the idea of a mountain bike park was pitched in a Didcot Town Council meeting.

Mr Andrew told the council he believes it would be a great addition to Didcot as a ‘Garden Town’ and it would give young people something to do and therefore discourage anti-social behaviour.

Although the petition for the mountain bike park has gained 739 signatures, Mr Andrew does not have any designs or a location for the park.

In the council meeting councillor Mocky Khan asked where the location of the park would be, and Mr Andrew suggested green spaces in the Ladygrove area or land at the old power station.

He also said the park would require at least six to eight acres of land.

Councillor Amanda Sandiford claimed to enjoy cycling herself and was keen to support it but questioned if the park would be suitable for families and those who are less skilled.

Mr Andrew reassured her that he wanted the park to be for all ages and abilities. He said: “I wanted it to be a community facility, not just something for me and my pals.”

Councillor Eleanor Hards also questioned how many people from Didcot actually signed the petition, but that information was unknown.

Plans for the park are still being developed and have been referred for further consideration by the council. To support plans for a mountain bike park in Didcot visit,

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