Campaign grows to reopen Mountbatten Centre valadrome shut after death of PC Richard Phillips-Schofield

Daily Echo: PC Richard Phillips-Schofield during a cycling event PC Richard Phillips-Schofield during a cycling event

HUNDREDS of cyclists
including a Hampshire
Olympic champion have
joined a campaign to get
a facility re-opened following
the death of a
Hampshire police officer.

The Mountbatten Centre’s velodrome closed after the death of PC Richard Phillips-Schofield and cyclists say they have no indication when it might re-open.

They are concerned that young cyclists around Hampshire who rely on the facility are being forced out onto roads.

But those who run the velodrome say recommendations have to be met before it can re-open.

PC Phillips-Schofield came off his race bike in a British Cycling event at the Portsmouth venue in March.

The popular 33- year-old, who served at Bitterne police station and policed Southampton for ten years, died 48 hours later.

But four months on from the tragedy, cyclists are asking why the track cannot be re-opened.

They have set up an online petition, attracting more than 450 signatures, among them Hamble cyclist Dani King, who won gold in the 2012 London Games.

She said: “I'm not sure if I would've made it all the way to London 2012 had it not been for this valuable facility.”

Peter Gwilliam, Portsmouth North End Cycling Club coach, who started the petiton, said: “I agree 100 per cent in regard to this for racing purposes but cannot understand the logic in closing the track for controlled, risk assessed coaching.”

Gareth Peters, a coach for Fareham Wheelers, said because of a lack of other road cycling training facilities teenagers including 12-year-old daughter Caitlin, are being forced to train on roads or in car parks, which is more dangerous.

Danny Churcher, general manager of Parkwood Community Leisure, said the track was closed initially on the advice of the council's environmental health officer while a full investigation was carried out.

He said they had not received a copy of this report, which is with the coroner, but had been made aware of the recommendations and were reviewing these with the council and British Cycling.

To sign the petition visit change.org/en-GB/petitions/councillor- robert-new-re-open-thecycling- track-at-the-mountbattencentre.

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