AMBITIOUS plans for Rossendale’s state-of-the-art mountain biking venue have been ‘really well-received’, according to the businessman behind the scheme.

Craig Robertson, owner of Ride On in Rawtenstall, has been chosen by Rossendale Council to spear-head the development, which he believes could attract 250,000 people a year.

Councillors will discuss the project at a cabinet meeting tomorrow night to rubber-stamp proposals for Ride On to develop two plots of land in Bacup’s Futures Park with the possibility of developing two further plots.

Land transaction details have yet to be finalised, but Craig is confident the process is near completion.

He said: “At the moment there are a lot of meetings – highways, planning, legal. We’re trying to pre-empt any problems and go straight for the detail.

“We should have blueprints and drawings in a few weeks, but we want them to be realistic.

“A planning application is probably a little further off. There’s a little bit of work to do, but hopefully before Christmas we can kick the ball into the council’s court.

“Then we can start approaching contractors early next year, and maybe even get a spade in the ground halfway through next year.”

Ride On is financing the development itself, with no council contribution, and Craig is confident he can build something the Valley will be proud of.

He added: “Design-wise we’re looking to make it interesting. We don’t want it to be a tin shed.

“It’s really exciting and so far, with our customers and within the trade, our ideas have been well-received. Things are really positive at the minute.”

The two plots which could be developed in the future are likely to be used as car parks, an issue Craig said is ‘the most awkward we have to deal with’.

Craig, who founded Ride On in 1995 with his wife Penny, believes the total cost of the trailhead centre will be around £400,000.