A SOUTH Somerset resident has started a petition to build an off road cycling track in the district.

Mark Hughes, of 1st Chard Wheelers, is asking people to sign a petition so cyclists of "every age and ability" will have somewhere to learn to cycle, or just enjoy "car-free riding".

If there is a lot of interest in the petition, Mr Hughes will then take it to the council, asking them to decide if this is something that could be considered.

His idea is to have a 1.5km or 2km tarmac loop circuit, with amenities, and situated somewhere near Yeovil.

"Cycling has been on the up for years and years now, at every age and ability level, it’s reached a stage that it now needs a home in our area," said Mr Hughes.

"Currently, there is just nowhere for people of all ages other than cycling on busier and busier roads to cycle their bikes safely.

"It is time we invested more for a healthier future for everyone in the South Somerset area regarding this growing sport.

"A dedicated cycling venue would be a hub for so many different things, it is high time we came in line with other sports.

"A much needed venue in this area will inspire more people to ride their bikes.

"Schools, clubs and organisations will finally have a hub and a greener more healthy future gets a step closer."

Mr Hughes, who has worked in multiple SEND schools and colleges, believes the route will also have benefits to children and adults with disabilities.

This is because they will be able to visit a cycle route closer to home - as the nearest safe cycle area is currently hours away.

"Similarly, able-bodied children also need a hub to pursue cycling safely too," added Mr Hughes.

"Unlocking potential in youngsters who may never get to unleash it for the simple reason that other cycling tracks are simply too far away.

"If you look at a map, our area together with a much wider one is a black spot for dedicated cycling venues.

"Even if your not a cyclist the benefits to the wider community are clear as shown.

"It will be a place for all abilities across a huge area and the local economy.

"Let’s look to the future and see that a cycling hub for all is a great thing."

To sign the petition visit change.org/p/british-cycling-support-the-need-for-an-off-road-cycling-track-in-the-south-somerset-area.