Wildlife fears over cycle track

The layout of the planned cycle track at Doncaster Dome
The layout of the planned cycle track at Doncaster Dome
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This is the Doncaster cycle track which could be built at the Dome – but builders will have to work around wildlife issues.

The 1km-long circuit is expected to attract more than 40,000 cyclists a year and experts see it as a way of getting more people more active.

But concerns have been raised it will involve filling in existing ponds and removing some of the grassland outside the leisure centre on Bawtry Road – a wildlife habitat.

Doncaster Council is still waiting for grant funding for the scheme to be confirmed.

The application says the facility is expected to be running by next year, subject to planned permission.

A report to planners says: “The proposed cycle track will cater for the existing and growing numbers of recreational cyclists, particularly providing a safe traffic free environment for young people and adults to Doncaster Dome develop their skills.

“Furthermore, it will enhance the ‘Lakeside’ as a destination location and support the ‘pull’ of the facility to cyclists outside of the Doncaster area.”

The track would wind around the car park and use some of the land taken up by two lakes. Trees would be removed but new ones would be planted and a new lake would be created at the centre of the track.

A report by senior ecologist Steven Ward said the new pond should be created before the old ones are filled in.

He added: “To avoid impacts on nesting birds, clearance of suitable vegetation should be scheduled outside the breeding season. If this is not possible, vegetation should be inspected for active nests by an ecologist prior to removal.”

The plans have sparked concerns from nature lovers. Adrian Dobson, a member of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and a keen cyclist, said: “There are a lot of carp in the pond and nesting birds and willow trees there.

“But that will be demolished. I agree Doncaster should have a cycle track, but I don’t agree that what is there should be demolished.

“It is a habitat that has been there for 30 years.”