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The fight to save 'the Hill'

The following answers from LVT will keep you up to date on the happenings at London’s only, but currently unusable, velodrome.

Further letters to The Dulwich Estate via the website, especially from supporters living in the Dulwich area would be welcome. Our website at HHVT is the place to go for more information.

Q: WHY IS THE VELODROME LOCKED?
A: Southwark Council’s lease ended on 31st January 2005. The Dulwich Estate, who own the site, declined the Council’s offer to extend its lease in favour of a new confidential deal with an un-named commercial leisure operator. Until this deal is concluded The Dulwich Estate seems determined to keep the velodrome locked.

Q: WHO ARE THE DULWICH ESTATE, AND WHAT ARE THEIR PLANS FOR THE VELODROME?
A: The Dulwich Estate owns most of Dulwich, is a very long established charity, and uses income from its estate property to support the Dulwich Charity Schools. It won’t give any commitments to the retention of cycling on the site, but because the velodrome is designated as metropolitan open land, development options for alternative uses are extremely limited.

Q: WHAT IS BEING DONE TO GET IT RE-OPENED?
A: The London Velodrome Trust (LVT), with support from the cycling community, the public and MPs, has been successful in getting the agreement of the Dulwich Estate to unlock the gates for Good Friday. The Dulwich Estate say they are happy to allow LVT to re-open the Velodrome for this season, but want this to be a licence arrangement directly with their new commercial leisure operator.

Q: SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
The Dulwich Estate hasn’t yet agreed a deal with its preferred new leisure operator. In February they said this would take weeks, but more than 2 months later no deal has been agreed. The Dulwich Estate has declined to say why they won’t consider a direct licence arrangement for LVT to re-open now, as they did for Good Friday.

Q: SO DO WE JUST HAVE TO WAIT?
A: No. Because there is growing concern that this approach might mean that the re-opening date continues to slip, local MPs are asking for an urgent meeting with The Dulwich Estate to explore how a basis with LVT for re-opening immediately might be agreed. This would prevent the cancellation of programmed events in April and May, as well as allowing local children and schools back in.

Q: WHEN THE VELODROME RE-OPENS WILL HERNE HILL BE RUN IN THE SAME WAY AS BEFORE?
A: Yes and no. LVT has grant funding from Southwark employ staff and provide a normal service without putting up prices. But it plans to raise the profile of the Velodrome in London and will seek further grant funding for additional youth cycling programmes in 2005 and beyond. It wants more involvement by Cycling Clubs and users in day-to-day management.

Q: WHAT ABOUT THE PLANS TO BUILD NEW FACILITIES AND A PERIMETER COVER?
A: One thing hasn’t changed – the Velodrome needs a financially sound plan for a long-term future including investment in 21st century facilities. How this can now best be achieved has to be reviewed with The Dulwich Estate and with their proposed new commercial lessees. To date the Dulwich Estate has not been willing to work directly with LVT or Southwark council on regeneration options, but perhaps might be persuaded that closure is not an option, and that constructive discussion now would be in everybody’s best long term interests.

Q: HOW CAN I HELP?
A: The Friends of Herne Hill Velodrome, led by Velodrome supporters living in Herne Hill and Dulwich, are planning a public meeting in Herne Hill soon after the General Election, and al supporters on our current mailing list will be advised of the date. The immediate aim of the Friends is to get the Velodrome re-opened a.s.a.p., and then seek from the Dulwich Estate satisfactory arrangements to secure the Velodrome’s long term future. To get on the Friends of HHV mailing list please e-mail heading your e-mail Friends of HHV Membership.

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