I’m a big fan of the Herne Hill Velodrome and I was well chuffed to learn today that it’s received more funding to improve the once-crumbling stadium.
The Velodrome is now set to get floodlights so that it can stay open for longer in the winter months, as well as a hardstanding area and junior track.
Southwark Council is funding the works via a £400,000 grant from its Olympic Legacy Project, so the facility’s future looks reasonable secure for the near future.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Velodrome’s prospects were looking distinctly wobbly after the site had fallen into such disrepair that The Dulwich Estate landlords were considering redevelopment, no doubt into luxury lifestyle apartments, or whatever.
A successful Save The Velodrome campaign (I have the badge!), led to British Cycling stepping in and agreeing to take on a new 15-year lease, with plans being drawn up to save the venue – which has the honour of being the last surviving venue of the 1948 Olympic Games.
Its Olympic heritage still lives on today too, with London 2012 gold medallists Bradley Wiggins, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott all starting their careers at the Herne Hill Velodrome.
A press release from the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust details the scheduled improvements:
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.