What is a pump track?
A pump track is a continuous circuit for cyclists of banked turns interspaced by rollers and other features that can be ridden on a bike without pedalling. It’s an increasingly popular way to encourage children and young people to exercise, while developing balancing and bike handling skills in a safe environment, away from traffic. In fact, it provides a great exercise workout for the whole family.
Are pump tracks just for bikes?
No. Pump tracks can be used by any type of bicycle, skateboards, scooters, and roller blades.
Are pump tracks safe?
Pump tracks are designed with safety in mind. They feature rounded edges, gentle embankments and perfect geometry to ensure a safe ride. All riding surfaces and edges are low to the ground, so riders are not at risk of falling from a high point.
Who can use the pump track?
Pump tracks use features which enable young people and adults of all skill levels and ages to enjoy. For example, a feature that a 5-year-old can roll through can be used as a gap jump for more advanced riders.
It will also provide a space for sports and youth providers to engage users in skill-building and exercise.
This video shows an example of what a pump track is, and how people can develop their skills.
What will the pump track look like?
The pump track will be mainly an asphalt surface with grassed slopes and will flow to allow laps of the site with jumps and obstacles such as step ups, rollers and berms.
This will provide an exciting track to fit the allocated space and meet the needs of younger users and beginners as well as providing a challenging facility for more experienced users. It will also allow for different types of wheels, for example, BMX, skateboards, scooters and rollerblades.
From late July 2021 we are consulting with local people on the design options for the track. This will help to decide a preferred design before a planning application is submitted.
You can see the designs and share your views by completing the survey.
Where will the pump track be within the park?
The pump track is proposed to be located on the site which is currently known as the Sunken Garden which is enclosed by existing hedging. This is near the main car park and the walled garden in Central Park.
The track would be developed within the Sunken Garden area which is a rectangular site area of approximately 34 by 26 metres with existing hedging remaining in place as a natural perimeter.
How has this location been chosen?
The Council’s Parks and Countryside and Place and Investment teams have been working together over the last year to identify the most suitable site in the park.
Working within Covid-19 restrictions we have been able to carry out surveys and take expert advice to explore a number of locations before deciding that the Sunken Garden was the best place for the pump track.
Why has this location been chosen?
Previous attempts to re-establish the Sunken Garden’s original use have been unsuccessful over the last five years. The pump track will allow this space to be reimagined and put to use in a way which will benefit the community.
This is a centrally positioned area that will have good surveillance from parks staff and other people using the park. This location will offer minimal visual and noise disturbance during construction and onwards, as it is hedged on three sides and has a sunken position which is well-drained.
It has sufficient open space and clearance around the site from the fenced war memorial, car park, football pitches, playground and walled garden.
Have other locations in the park been considered?
We looked at a site next to the playground which is already used informally as a track and areas towards Parkside and next to St Johns Church. It was decided that it wouldn’t be possible to site the pump track in these locations because of issues including:
- obstacles such as existing trees
- the ongoing tree planting programme
- land topography and drainage issues
- proximity to busy pedestrian pathways
- lack of access for construction
- proximity to a Grade II listed building and residential buildings
- proximity to existing amenity uses within the park
Why is the pump track needed?
Building on input and feedback from local stakeholders and partner agencies over several years, the idea for a pump track was included in the Action Plan for the area. It is recognised that there is a need to provide a dedicated facility for young people and other residents which encourages cycling activities to take place in a safe space away from the high street and built-up areas.
The creation of the pump track is part of a wider effort to support diversionary activities for young people, including sports development and other local initiatives which will connect to this project, and more broadly ensure young people can access opportunities away from the town centre.
The impact of COVID restrictions in recent times has proved that quality open spaces and outdoor facilities for recreation are vital to everyone in our communities to support physical and mental health and wellbeing.
How will the pump track be funded?
In late 2019 Wirral Council secured external funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Mayoral Town Centre Fund to deliver a series of projects to help regenerate and revitalise Liscard Town Centre.
The pump track proposed at Central Park is one of the key projects being developed and funded through the regeneration programme.
How will the pump track be maintained?
The preferred materials for the pump track is a bitumen macadam surface, which would be a maintenance free surface for the long term. Parks staff are on site daily to inspect and maintain the area around the pump track.
How will the pump track be monitored for potential issues?
New CCTV is proposed to overlook the site and will provide an additional security measure. It will enable surveillance and regular monitoring for potential issues such as anti-social behaviour to be addressed by the Council and partner agencies should this occur.
The proposed site for the pump track is centrally located within the park and will ensure minimal noise disturbance and will also have good surveillance from park rangers.
What are the social benefits of pump tracks?
Wirral Council is working with pump track experts Back on Track – who are providing expert technical support for this project that could really benefit the local community.
On their website, Back on Track highlight some of the key social benefits that installing a pump track can have within a community.
We want to hear from you
We are consulting with local people and park users on the design options for the pump track, before a planning application is submitted later this year.
To have your say about the design options, visit the Have Your Say website to complete the short survey.