The land where a popular cycling park which has hosted Olympic and Paralympic stars is based has been sold at auction following a bidding war.
The freehold of the site, home to Cyclopark in Gravesend, fetched a mammoth £1.2 million – almost three times more than the guide price.
It has not been confirmed who has bought the 38-acre site which is leased to Kent County Council (KCC) on a 50-year tenure since 2010 but the charity which runs the site say it will be "business as usual".
Gravesham council attempted to buy the land and bid "well above the guide price", said council leader Cllr John Burden.
He added: "We made a serious attempt to buy the freehold of the land previously owned by the Colyer Fergusson Trust to safeguard it for the community of Gravesham. We had no prior knowledge of the sale of the land before it was listed for auction.
“We bid well above the guide price, but ultimately had to withdraw from the auction when the bids passed a point at which we felt we could no longer argue the sale price represented value for money for the council taxpayers of the Borough.”
The BMX track has welcomed Olympic champion Beth Shriever, who competed there in the run-up to her gold medal in the Tokyo games last summer.
Tom Pidcock, who took gold in the mountain biking event in the Olympics, has also graced the track at Cyclopark winning the national cyclocross championship hosted at the Wrotham Road complex in 2019.
The multi-sport open air centre includes bike tracks comprising a 2.9km tarmac course for road bikes, a 330m BMX race-track and a 6km track for mountain biking.
It also features a skate park, children's play park and holds a variety of fitness classes.
Gravesham council is now planning to hold talks with Cyclopark and the new owners in the hope of finding out what intentions there are for the site.
Cllr Shane Mochrie-Cox, Gravesham council’s cabinet member for community and leisure, said: “Of course we are disappointed that we were not successful in our bid for the freehold of the land in question.
“Cyclopark is a tremendous asset for the community of Gravesham and to have been in a position to act as guardians of the land on which it sits was something we as a council truly aspired to.
“We will now work with Cyclopark to engage with the new owners of the freehold of the site to understand their future intentions, which of course will be subject to any due processes.”
A spokesman for KCC: "KCC was aware that The Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust was looking to dispose, at auction, of its interest in the land on which the Cyclopark currently operates.
“This was done with the lease to KCC and the sublease to the Cyclopark remaining in place. We look forward to working with the new landlord on this important facility.”
The park, which is run by a charity and opened in 2012, is next to the A2 and is rented to KCC for £30,600 per year.
Auction details showed the guide price for the freehold – the land where the park is situated – was listed at £480,000 and had been put up for sale under the instruction of the trustees of the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust.
Cyclopark saw a surge in visitors during the height of the Olympics after Shriever won gold in the women's BMX racing final just moments after teammate Kye Whyte took Team GB's first BMX medal when he secured silver in the men's final.
Paralympic wheelchair marathon racer John Smith, who is from Meopham, is also a regular at the track and is one of the park's ambassadors.
It has also staged part of the women's Tour of Britain cycling race in 2019.
The sale went through yesterday at the latest auction held by property auctioneers Clive Emson.