Herne Hill Velodrome Re-opens

Joy as velodrome reopens

(22 July 2005)

By Paul Rhys, South London Press

After six months of frustration, kids celebrated the reopening of a cycle track for the school holidays.

Herne Hill Velodrome, which staged events in the 1948 Olympics, will open again to train the Olympians of the future.

Dozens of disappointed young cyclists were locked out when its gates were chained and barred in February.

It followed the failure of Southwark council to agree an extension of its lease with landlord the Dulwich Estate.

The landlord was then in talks with developers Citygrove Securities about taking over the tenancy, but a deal never materialised.

Dulwich Estate has now agreed a three-year licence with British Cycling, allowing the velodrome to open from August 5.

But the site needs developing and Citygrove Securities could still sign up as tenants to carry out the work.

The Dulwich Estate and British Cycling say they hope the velodrome will give youngsters a good chance of competing at the 2012 games.

Tanya Read spent six years looking for a cycle track for 12-year-old son Kiman before she came across the velodrome.

She had feared the track would be closed for the whole summer.

She said: "It's fantastic news. I have to admit I didn't expect it to happen so quickly.

"When I told my son it had closed it knocked him for six.

"For him and his friends that's their world.

"All the hard work campaigning for it to reopen has obviously paid off."

Graham Geddes, 58, chairman of the London Velodrome Trust set up by Southwark to manage the track under its lease, said it was vital the track remained open as London builds up to the 2012 Olympics.

He said: "There's no point having an Olympic city if you don't have the facilities where young athletes can train.

"We've lost most of the season but hopefully we'll sort out a programme for riders to use the track into the autumn."

Dulwich Estate Chairman John Major said: "We will be working together with parties on a scheme for development of the facilities, together with a leisure and sports complex to complement cycling."

News quoted from South London Press