Save the velodrome
The 2012 Olympics are on the horizon and a state-of-the art velodrome is being built. At the same time, though, Herne Hill Velodrome, the last track to host the Olympics in the UK, is fighting closure…
The Herne Hill Velodrome, in the London Borough of Soutwark, is the oldest cycling track in the country – it was built in 1891 – and the home of the 1948 Olympic Cycling Championships, but it now faces closure due to deterioration and lack of funding.
Despite it’s poor condition, the track is still widely used by riders from all over the capital, so an alliance of residents and cyclists has been formed to it from closure. Quite rightly they point out that there is no alternative track in London for the hundreds of children who ride and race at Herne Hill. In the past, that has included Bradley Wiggins, the three-time Olympic gold medallist, who began his competitive cycling career at Herne Hill.
The Campaign is the brainchild of Hillary Peachey, a local resident whose children use the site regularly. She says, “It seems shameful that, with 2012 approaching, London cannot even sustain the facilities it has. That is why we are calling on Londoners as a whole to save this precious resource.”
Campaigners aim to secure the future of the site and make it a viable long-term facility for all, including local residents and schools. Hillary adds, “We are going to find a viable, sustainable and environmentally sensitive solution. The only given is that it must be cycling-led, inclusive and work for the entire community.”
Peter Cattermole, whose club runs the site currently, says, “If you came here on a Saturday and saw hundreds of kids bombing around the track, you’d think it would be criminal to lose it. Anyone who cares about kids, cycling or the environment should come to the public meeting.”
To stay open, the Velodrome will need corporate and private funding, together with volunteer support. The campaigners are hopeful of getting it. “Cycling is one of the most popular sports in the country. If we pull together, we can save this amazing place for future generations,” says Hillary.
This entry was posted on Friday, November 12th, 2010 at 12:00 pm and is filed under Cycling Plus, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.