The diggers have moved in to commence work on phase two of the ongoing regeneration of Herne Hill Velodrome, which is the last surviving venue of the 1948 London Olympics.
In January, the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust, thanks to funding from Southwark Council Olympic Legacy Fund, secured the go-ahead for a 250 metre junior track, track-centre hard standing and perimeter floodlighting.
“These works are the result of a successful collaborative effort fronted by the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust but involving a wide range of stakeholders and users. They represent probably the most significant investment in the velodrome in its 110 year history and are a real ‘game changer’."
Richard Williams, British Cycling's representative on the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust.
As seen in the image above, heavy machinery is preparing the ground for a junior track in the infield area of the existing 450 metre outdoor velodrome and the improvements are hoped to be completed by Easter in time for the legendary Good Friday meeting. First promoted in 1903, the Good Friday meeting has featured greats such as Arnaud Tournant, Florian Rousseau, Stuart O’Grady, Bradley Wiggins and Graeme Obree.
Graham Bristow, promoter of the Good Friday Meeting, said: "For my part I am delighted that work has started and I have been assured that it will be completed, apart from the lighting, in time for the Southern Counties CU annual Good Friday Meeting. The lighting scheme is long overdue, having been first discussed over 20 years ago, and will greatly add to the long term viability of the Velodrome.
"The hard standing areas will be an enormous benefit for the riders on Good Friday because they won’t have to contend with walking on the wet and mud and having rollers and turbos sink in the grass. Couple that with the warm up track and I think we will wonder how we ever managed before!"
In 2011 with funding and technical support from British Cycling, a new high tech track surface was installed after British Cycling successfully negotiated with the Dulwich Estate to secure the long term future of the venue.
The 250 metre junior track will provide the ideal environment for the development of younger riders’ skills, while providing a convenient warm-up and cool-down area during events. It will also enable Wheels for Wellbeing to continue and expand the services they provide to people with disabilities.
Hard-standing on the infield section will allow Bikeability cycle training and other activities to take place at the venue, whilst also providing a safe waiting area for riders during competition.
Finally trackside floodlighting will extend the usability of the historic venue into the autumn and winter evenings, which will help cater for the ever-increasing demand for track time following the success of London 2012.
Richard Williams, British Cycling’s representative on the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust commented: “These works are the result of a successful collaborative effort fronted by the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust but involving a wide range of stakeholders and users. They represent probably the most significant investment in the velodrome in its 110 year history and are a real ‘game changer’.
“The Trust and British Cycling are committed to delivering the final phase of this process; the redevelopment of the grandstand; which would perhaps be the most appropriate legacy to 2012.”
For the full story on British Cycling’s work to help save Herne Hill Velodrome, go here: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/campaigning_hernehill