Derby

Delayed Derby Arena velodrome opens for business

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Media captionMargaret Beckett said the facility will benefit the city

A multimillion-pound velodrome has opened its doors to the public three months later than originally planned.

Work on the 5,000-seat Derby Arena - one of only five such venues in the UK - began in April 2013.

It boasts a 250m cycle track, 12-court sports hall, a gym, group exercise space and a cafe.

The arena was due to open in December but Derby City Council put the delays on the "complex project" down to "getting things right".

Concert venue

The city council said it was still in negotiations with potential sponsors over a new name for the velodrome.

Councillor Alison Martin said the talks were "progressing quite well" but no details were available yet.

As well as cycling, the £31m venue will host sports including basketball and double as a concert venue.

It was opened by Dame Sarah Storey, Britain's most decorated female paralympian, and Derby MP Margaret Beckett, on Thursday night.

Team Sky Boss Sir Dave Brailsford, who lives in Derbyshire, called it a "superb facility".

Image caption Sir David Brailsford said he was looking forward to having a go on the track himself

"What's exciting about a velodrome and a multi-use arena like Derby is it attracts all ages and all sizes of people.

"It's open to everyone," he said.

He said with other velodromes in London, Newport, Manchester and Glasgow, Derby's was "ideally placed" for people all over the country to enjoy.

Image caption The £31m venue had originally been due to open in December

The venue opens to the public from 11:00 GMT.

Dame Storey, who has been training on the track in recent weeks, said: "It's absolutely amazing.

Image caption Dame Sarah Storey and MP Margaret Beckett were at a special event on Thursday to mark the opening

"I love riding here, I look forward to riding here again in the future and I look forward to seeing everybody else enjoying their racing."

Councillor Alison Martin said: "It will bring so many benefits to Derby and to the region."

Image caption The arena has been years in the planning and aims to attract people from all over the country

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