A sporting powerhouse
BORED with the GC race in le Tour - the lead is held in a vice like grip by Sky’s Chris Froome with no other team able to challenge him as they near the Alps - I decide to write my latest blog about a different sporting powerhouse – this one in Dartford, Kent!
Well, it could be, if someone with the money recognises the potential for transforming the vast indoor space of the Littlebrook Power Station into a cathedral of cycle sport. And the grounds outside of the building into a road circuit.
The man with the vision is Tony Mack, the former racing man who inspired the creation of Europe’s largest cycle park, the £8 million Cyclopark near Gravesend which opened in 2012, the year of the London Olympics. It became an immediate success.
Cyclopark is a brilliant venue. I’ve spent a couple of hours riding the 3km road circuit there. It also caters for skateboarders and runners.
It would never happened but for Mack who saw the potential when a decision was taken to realign the A2, so opening up the narrow stretch of land now occupied by the Cyclopark.
Now Mack has recognised another potential winner in the old power station. His idea has made headlines in the local press.
Mack envisages the former power station’s cathedral like buildings housing a range of facilities, including a velodrome and indoor football. The surrounding site has potential for a road circuit, a skateboard park and running tracks.
It could also become a heritage and cultural centre, he says. And the tall chimney could become an observation platform with views across Kent, Essex and London.
There is a precedent for turning old power stations to other uses. I refer to the Tate Modern in London, the former power station on the Thames which is now the museum for modern art. It was dubbed Power to Art. The Dartford project would be Power to Sport.
Could Mack realise his latest dream?
He is keen to drum up support and has written to sports minister Tracey Crouch, Kent County Council, Dartford Council and Sport England.