BURSCOUGH Leisure Centre is being earmarked as a potential cycle hire site as part of a £3.2m Visitor Economy Project.
A partnership bid between Sefton, West Lancs borough and Lancashire County councils secured funding from the Department of Transport in 2011 for the project, which attempts to cut transport admissions and congestion and encourage tourism.
A key element of the Visitor Economy Project was to expand the already existing Southport Cycle Hire scheme which began in 2009 throughout Sefton and West Lancashire.
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Through the scheme, it is hoped that cycle hire rentals will hit 3,000 by 2014/15, up from 816 in 2009/10. In July, cycle hire became available at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre. And a Sefton council report issued last week, updating members on the project, stated the potential for a site at Burscough Leisure Centre is being investigated for 2013.
The operation of the cycle hire scheme across Sefton and West Lancs is expected to cost approximately £90k per year.
A sum of £40,000 has been allocated through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, while income from the cycle hire scheme, in addition to £40,000 provided by Merseyrail, will also be used to contribute to the operating costs.
Charges for the scheme – which would include Burscough, should it be implemented there – are £6 for up to four hours and £8 for a full day through to February, 2013. An increase to £10 for 2013/14 has been proposed.
Burscough councillor Roger Bell welcomed plans to expand the scheme to the town.
He said: “I think it’s fabulous. The number of people using bikes is going up and up, thanks to the likes of Bradley Wiggins and the popularity of the sport. Having something locally in West Lancashire adds to what we can offer to visitors coming to a beautiful part of the country. It also ties in with the proposals in the Local Plan for a linear park route between Ormskirk and Burscough. I think the leisure centre would be a site that could work for cycle hire, but I’d also like Ormskirk station to be considered, too.”