Thursday, 24 October 2013

Keeping a Running Track in Camborne and Redruth

I have been running since I was nine, when I first joined Cornwall Athletic Club. Throughout my twenties I was running for Cornwall and at the peak of my fitness I was running around 80 miles per week. It was a big part of my life, and a lot of it revolved around training at Carn Brea. The track means a lot to me, as it does to a lot of people and organisations such as Carn Runners and Hayle Runners.

It is clear from discussion with local councillors that they are considering a few possible sites for a replacement running track with the existing site being sold to fund a major renovation and upgrade of the facilities at Carn Brea Leisure Centre. There a several options for the location of a new track in the Camborne and Redruth area, not least one of the schools or the land next to the all weather football pitches at Cornwall College. However, there are voices claiming that Truro might be a more central location and easier to get to. They couldn't be more wrong.

I have done a bit of basic research into journey times between various towns and Redruth or Truro. Accessibility is not just about distance, it is also about traffic congestion. Any tourist visiting Cornwall could be forgiven for assuming that "Truro" might be Cornish for traffic jam! Redruth is far closer to the main A30 trunk road and is more accessible for the county as a whole.

It is no surprise West Cornwall towns like Falmouth, Helston, Penzance, Hayle and St Ives all find Redruth easier to get to than Truro. However, my research also shows that the vast majority of towns to the north also find Redruth easier to get to. Drivers coming from Newquay, Bodmin and Wadebridge would take exactly the same time to get to the Redruth site as they would to the one in Truro, and this includes at busy times such as the school run and after work when people are visiting the track. Only residents of St Austell could travel to Truro quicker and this would only be by a few minutes, assuming they were lucky with the Truro traffic. Redruth is overall the easiest location to get to when measured in journey times. The new eight lane track also needs to be as central as possible because the one at Par, which is just six lanes, is not suitable for all competitions. We should also look at local populations. A track in Camborne or Redruth would service the local population of around 59,000 people whereas there are just 22,000 people in Truro.

With deliberations in Cornwall Council still ongoing, we can only hope that common sense prevails. It is important to think about the more local benefits as well such as the number of schools in the area and the existence of clubs. The main athletics clubs in Cornwall are Cornwall Athletic Club, Newquay Athletic Club, Carn Runners and Hayle Runners. All of these clubs would be better off with a track located in the Redruth area. Truro is well known for many things but athletics is not one of them, so why build the track up there in the middle of their traffic jam?