March 25, 2011
It was due to be open this summer, but the Esher X bike park in Surrey is currently being flattened. The site has been popular with mountain bikers on it for years, with riders officially using it in one form or another since 2003, when the Esher Shore timber North Shore trails were built on the site.
When the popularity of that style of riding faded, the non-profit enterprise decided to build the Esher X bike park on the site, with a pump track, four cross track and play and bike test tracks as well as a branch of the Freeborn bike shop there. Building took place on the site all over winter but legal issues over the site with the landowners and the park’s landlord have now meant that all the site must be flattened.
Despite having been given planning permission and a change of usage for the land from local authorities back in 2004, they were told by the landowner that the people they leased the land from had never had any right to sublet the area and that the environmental status of the land meant that they would have to leave immediately and return the site to nature.
Having spent £6,000 of their £10,000 budget and having almost completed the work, the track has now been bulldozed and when we spoke to digger Rob Cole, he was busy flattening the pump track it had taken him and his his team months to build.
In the statement posted on our forum, the guys said: “As the park is a non profit enterprise we are not in a position to instruct lawyers to fight a litigation case. We would like to thank everyone who has helped out at the Esher Shore bike park over the last eight years, without their efforts the park would never have been such a success, and thanks to all the riders who used the bike park, came to the Jams and thanks to all the customers of the Freeborn Esher bike shop”
The Freeborn Esher shop is closing down on Thursday 31st March but this in no way affects the Freeborn shop in Horsham, Surrey, which will continue trading as usual.
Rob Cole is going to head back to his native North London once the shop closes. He’s going to keep trail building but he’s got no plans to build any more bike parks in the future – after all the years of building and riding he’s still pleased though, saying “it’s been a good run”.
It’s a real shame, because from this video taken just before the park was destroyed, it looked amazing…