CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after Winchester’s environment chief revealed an internationally renowned BMX trail would not be destroyed by the city council.

Riders fighting to save the track in Bar End presented a petition to Winchester City Council, calling on councillors to drop plans for an 14-bay coach park on the site.

As previously reported, users of the trail next to the St Catherine’s Park and Ride – which has been used unofficially for more than 20 years and is owned by Hampshire County Council – launched a petition to save the space, after WCC announced plans to clear it to make way for a 14-bay coach park.

The decision was initially delayed while council officers looked at alternative sites for coach park, but the campaign suffered a blow when a temporary car park used by county council staff was made permanent, despite campaigns saying it could make way for the coach park instead.

Rory O’Sullivan, who has been using the trails since 1997, presented the petition to save ‘Bar End Trails’ to last week’s full council meeting.

The 37-year-old, of St Cross Road, Winchester, said: “By 2004, the trails had become known nationally and internationally. On any decent weekend, the trails see between 70 and 100 people riding through.”

Mr O’Sullivan added that the petition, which said “both cycling and witnessing nature first hand is more important than inflating Winchester’s visitor numbers” through coach-loads of tourists, had 23,000 signatures.

Following the presentation, Cllr Jan Warwick, portfolio holder for environment, told councillors that although a decision had not yet been made on where the coach park would be built, it would not be built on the BMX trails.

Cllr Warwick added: “Our desire to relocate the coaches isn’t about numbers, we have a real problem with air quality.”

A report will now be presented to Winchester City Council’s cabinet outlining the council’s options for the coach park.