THE first hard surface velodrome in Yorkshire and the North East is set to open in the summer after councillors approved plans to develop cycling in the region.

The 250-metre Olympic-standard velodrome will be built at York Sport Village on the University of York campus, alongside a one-kilometre road cycling circuit which opened last year.

Work on the track, which will be open to the public, is expected to start next month and be completed by the summer with a projected cost of £1.075m.

The only other velodrome in the region is a banked grass-covered track built in 1892, at Richmondshire Cricket Club, which is used for a limited number of evening cycling meetings during the summer.

John Harper, chairman of Darlington Cycling Club, said members wanting to ride at a velodrome were travelling to Manchester, and while he would rather an indoor track was being built, the York track would attract cyclists from the North-East.

He said: "I would think quite a few of us will be interested in riding on it as there is nothing like it that I know of."

York councillors passed the university’s plan for the oval Tarmac-covered track, which is being supported by Sport England and part-funded by British Cycling, after hearing it would only operate between May and September, as wet weather could make it dangerous.

The seven-metre wide track, which will be banked at each end, will have floodlights to enable its use from 8am to 10pm.

A Sport England spokesman said: “The proposal addresses an identified need for this type of facility and has the potential to be benefit to cycling in the locality.

“We are comforted by British Cycling's close involvement, which will result in an appropriately designed facility.”

The university’s head of sport, Keith Morris, said he hoped the velodrome would reinforce York Sport’s and the city’s cycling reputation in the year the Tour de France visits York.

He added: “With the support of British Cycling, we are committed to building on the success of our floodlit road cycling circuit which opened last year is used widely by cycling clubs and members of the public as well as university students and staff.”