Members of the Save The Velodrome campaign have unveiled an ambitious project to help secure the future of London’s historic Herne Hill track, enlisting the help of the architects currently involved in the London 2012 Velodrome, to design a proposed redevelopment of the site.
Those plans are contained in a feasibility study published today on the Save The Velodrome campaign’s new website, launched earlier this week, which envisages a tented pavilion, including a café and a gym and changing rooms, occupying one side of the South London site.
A family cycling circuit would pass between the two levels of the pavilion building, while inside the track, there would be a children’s cycle track and a bicycle polo area.
The venue, the last one existing from the 1948 Olympics, is currently under threat as a result of its landlords, The Dulwich Estate, seeking to redevelop it, but campaigners claim that a redeveloped Herne Hill velodrome would provide a community facility to complement the 2012 Olympic facility in Stratford.
Certainly The Dulwich Estate appears willing to listen to any viable proposal to keep the Herne Hill site open, with Chief Executive John Major, (not to be confused with the former prime minister) quoted on the Save The Velodrome website as saying: “The Trustees of The Dulwich Estate welcome and support this campaign in its objectives to ensure that cycling can continue at Herne Hill Velodrome.
“The Trustees welcome support from a community enterprise, working in partnership with CF, in formulating a plan to help guarantee the sustainability of cycling at Herne Hill in the long term.”
Mike Taylor of Hopkins Architects, who was involved in the 2012 Velodrome project, comments: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to present our first thoughts for redeveloping the Herne Hill Velodrome site.
“As work on our 2012 Olympic Velodrome nears completion this is a critical moment to secure the legacy of the 1948 venue and ensure its longterm future as a community and grassroots cycling venue.
“Together these two Olympic cycle centres complement each other and offer London a wonderful opportunity to re-establish itself as an important destination for track cycling.
“In our concept design we have tried to capture the ideas generated by the cycling community in responding to the campaign appeal, and respect the charm of the location and the proud heritage of the Herne Hill Velodrome.
“We look forward to hearing your comments on this concept proposal.”
High-profile supporters of the Save The Velodrome campaign include Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins, who began his track riding career there, London 2012 Olympic chief Lord Coe, local MP Tessa Jowell and nearby residents such as actor James Nesbitt and comedian Jenny Éclair.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.