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Runners look for silver lining to Olympic fiasco

February 13, 2008 6:41 PM
By Kathy Canham in Brentwood Gazette

The cloud of gloom hanging over Brentwood following the loss of the Olympic mountain biking event could be chased away by hopes of an athletics track.

A silver lining may yet be found if cash earmarked for Olympic projects in the borough can be re-directed towards a running track.The Thrift Green Trotters has a sub-committee working on this dream - an athletics track for the whole community at the Brentwood Centre.

The proposal is an old idea from when the Liberal Democrats were in power at Brentwood Town Hall, but it never came to fruition.

The possibility was resurrected last year amid the talk of money being spent on a gateway sculpture to welcome Olympic visitors to Brentwood.

The Lib Dems said the money could be better spent on a permanent legacy, namely the athletics track scheme.

Thrift Green Trotters' Brian Harding said: "All the major towns around have a track but Brentwood does not.

"There is one at Brentwood School but it is not available to the whole community and we want to make a track available to everyone.

"All the local schools have been written to and asked if they would use such a facility. All the responses are very positive and people have made all sorts of offers to help.

"From my point of view I see the Olympic position as a positive thing because the money that Brentwood council would have allocated to all the costs involved with the Olympics, is now presumably available.

"Every cloud has a silver lining. Something could be developed which is much more than a statue at the bottom of Brook Street.

"An athletics track would be a bonus to Brentwood. We shall be progressing it."

He added: "The Brentwood Centre is an accessible site and we could see major athletics events taking place.

"The Trotters are a significant part of the community. Brentwood itself in its mission statement is committed to reducing obesity in the young.

"While it would be good to create top performers, the athletics track would be geared towards the community."

Brentwood Lib Dem group leader Cllr David Kendall said: "I think this would lift the community. After Weald this is something positive the community could get excited about."