Herne Hill Velodrome Celebrates
Olympic Legacy Project is Given Green Light
Herne Hill Velodrome is one of the finest outdoor cycling tracks in the UK and is the last remaining finals venue from the 1948 Olympic Games. Much of the UK’s Olympic success in 1948 came from two silver and two bronze medals won in track cycling events. It is still used by the British Cycling as a base for developing cycling talent and encouraging grassroots interest; famous names whose careers began at Herne Hill include Bradley Wiggins, Laura Trott and Jo Rowsell.
The Herne Hill Velodrome Trust is the charity established in 2011 to lead the refurbishment and renewal of the Herne Hill Velodrome site for current and future generations of cyclists. The have been working hard to gain recognition of the importance of the Velodrome to the local community and beyond today there was good news….
Southwark Council has approved (subject to conditions) two planning applications from the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust to improve facilities at the historic outdoor track in South East London. The works will be funded by a £400,000 grant from Southwark Council’s Olympic Legacy Project.
The first approval will see construction of an area of hardstanding and a junior track within the velodrome’s inner field. These will provide much needed training facilities for young, novice and less able riders. The junior track will provide a 250 meter flat surface for wide and diverse community use, such as the charity Wheels for Wellbeing who use hand bikes, trikes and side-by-side bikes to help less able riders enjoy cycling. This is the first time Herne Hill will be able to offer such space; other than the track and mountain bike course, there is currently no tarmac area for new and young riders to practice.
The second approval will see installation of much needed track lighting on the main velodrome, the first time the track has ever been lit in its 122 year history. The lighting has been designed with bespoke lighting poles to ensure it delivers the required brightness whilst also minimizing light overspill and with no ecological impact. Lighting will be available for use up to 9.15pm and will allow the velodrome to be used during the winter months when early darkness currently prevents training.
Chair of the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust Hillary Peachey said: “This is a very proud moment in our campaign. We will be able to offer more children, from more diverse backgrounds, an opportunity to learn track cycling. There will be more sessions for women to take up riding, and more time for non-conventional and less able cyclists to discover the freedom of riding in a safe and welcoming environment. And we can at last offer better facilities to those elite riders who train and race at Herne Hill, inspiring the next generation.”
Ian Drake, CEO of British Cycling, said; “’We are delighted that the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust have been successful in obtaining planning permission for what is effectively phase two of the velodrome’s rebirth. Phase one was achieved in 2011 when British Cycling resurfaced the track, saving it from closure and we look forward to working with the Trust, the Dulwich Estate, Sport England and all our local members and supporters to deliver phase three – the redevelopment of the pavilion”.
Cllr Veronica Ward, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Sport, and Olympic Legacy at Southwark Council, said: “The Capital Legacy Fund has contributed significantly to the development of this famous Velodrome. We are delighted that this next phase has been granted planning permission and that the energy and dynamism of the 2012 Olympics has not been lost in Southwark. We are already seeing real examples of a long-lasting legacy. The state of the art improvements at Herne Hill Velodrome will open up this fantastic facility to larger numbers of cyclists, and allow different generations and people of all abilities to take advantage of the activities on offer.”
Michael Conway, CEO of FM Conway who have been contracted to complete the works, said; “We are extremely pleased to be involved in these prestigious works and are looking forward to working on this historic site that has played such an important part in our sporting history.”
Approval of the applications coincides with preparation for the biggest event of the year at Herne Hill, the Southern Counties’ Cycling Union Good Friday Meeting. This event is now in its 110th year and will be held on 29 March, 2013. With the date looming, and international riders as well as British champions already booked to race, the timing of being granted planning permission and being able to begin work on site could not be more important.
The construction team are fully committed and working hard in uncertain weather conditions to enable the completion of the infield works in time for Good Friday. The installation of lighting will follow in May.
The project team are:
Jackson Coles LLP – Project manager
Hopkins Architects – Feasibility study
Rolfe Judd Planning Ltd – Planning consultant
Deloitte LLP – Cost Consultants
Ramboll – Structural Engineers
Peter Deer Associates – Services & Engineering
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP – Legal representative
Spokesmen Ltd – Public consultation & media
FM Conway – Contractor for works & project partner