Double Boost For Herne Hill Velodrome
Plans to save historic Herne Hill Velodrome in south London have received two huge boosts this week, with news of charitable status for campaign group the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust, as well as a breakthrough in lease negotiations for the site, which should pave the way for re-surfacing of the track.
The Herne Hill Velodrome Trust Launched
The Herne Hill Velodrome Trust was officially launched on Monday night (7 February) at a star-studded event at City Hall. Lord Coe popped in to lend his support as his father trained and rode at the track. Lord Coe was also joined by Tessa Jowell MP, Val Shawcross AM and Kate Hoey, the Mayor's advisor on sport.
A number of cycling legends attended, including Tommy Godwin, now in his 90s and proud holder of two bronze medals from the 1948 London Olympics, won at Herne Hill. Magnus Backstead, Paris-Roubaix and Tour de France stage winner also came to lend his support, as did EuroSport commentator David Harmon.
Those present heard how that day the Trust had been awarded charitable status. Campaign leader Hillary Peachey explained what this means for the project; "It's a massive step forward and means we can now really move ahead with fundraising. Our ambitions for the site are bold; it's not just about resurfacing the track, but providing an environment in which cyclists old and new can enjoy their sport; about families being inspired by the world champions."
Framework Agreement for Long-Term Lease
The second piece of good news came in the guise of a framework agreement for a long-term lease over the site. Previous leases have only been very short term which has prevented fundraising or any sort of capital investment.
British Cycling's chief executive Ian Drake said: "British Cycling has been negotiating with the Dulwich Estate and we have recently agreed heads of terms for a 15-year-lease on the track. This development enables British Cycling to fund and move ahead with the necessary track resurfacing. A lot of work remains to be done but we are optimistic that the future of Herne Hill Velodrome will be secured for the benefit of cycling in the capital and to help develop the next generation of Olympic champions."
Hillary went on to say, "We've had some amazing support already and are calling on more people to join us. Stage two of our plans, which will see the future of the Velodrome secured, needs everything from office space and computers to fundraisers, donors and trustees. We can then begin to plan the development of the whole site in a hugely exciting £5million project".
Concept designs for the site have been worked up by Mike Taylor of 2012 velodrome architects and renowned firm Hopkins. They promise an exciting regeneration of the one remaining 1948 London Olympic finals venue ensuring its long term future through a mix of track riding, mountain biking, cyclo cross, training and family riding alongside a new pavilion with café and community space.
The Herne Hill Velodrome Trust is seeking to realise the potential of Hopkins' designs and has received terrific support from both the local and wider cycling community, as well as Southwark Council who have named the project as their 2012 legacy scheme. At the campaign launch in October 2010, over 700 people attended a public meeting and since then, support has come in from individuals to local and multinational firms dedicating time and money to the cause.
The concept plans can be seen and commented on via the Trust's website at www.savethevelodrome.com and they are holding a public meeting on March 22 at Dulwich College Great Hall from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, where people can come and talk to them about the ideas.