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started six weeks late because I wasn’t allowed to spend anything on getting
the track cleaned. Nevertheless cycling became very popular in London
generally, and users at the Velodrome built each summer, only to drop off
again when the evenings and the cold weather drew in.

The lease was renewed on a rolling basis while a set of proposals were worked
up by VCL member Graeme Geddes, much supported initially by the local
residents, and by Southwark Council. It passed planning permission but failed
to raise the funds required, and on 28th January 2005, Southwark failed to
reach terms for lease renewal with Dulwich Estate, and I was told to return
the keys to Dulwich Estate by Monday 31st!

Temporary permission was granted to reopen the site for the Good Friday
Meeting that year, but we remained locked out until August, when British
Cycling, together with VCL, negotiated terms to manage the site –still on a
rolling lease – and on a non-profit, community basis. VCL, with Peter
Cattermole, Bryan Taylor and Steve White in charge, took the place on and
put in place a strong programme of training and coaching, while my Herne
Hill Youth CC off-road sessions continued at the back of the site. The poor
old pavilion, however, was boarded up and deemed ‘unsafe’.

The number of riders using the site continued to climb, but any attempts to
make contact with the Dulwich Estate for a longer lease were either not
acknowledged at all, or given a terse reply that they were still waiting to sign
a contract with a ‘preferred bidder’ who would redevelop the site and provide
them with a ‘commercial’ rent. This carried on until 2009 when a local
resident, Hillary Peachey, decided that this was intolerable and formed the
Save the Velodrome group following meetings at the Crown and Greyhound.
Within a month she had met the Chief Executive of Dulwich Estate twice, and
after a packed meeting – at Dulwich College – the campaign really took off.

To begin with, the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust was set up as a charity, and
the Friends of Herne Hill Velodrome formed as a fundraising and publicity
arm. If you aren’t yet a FoHHV, do please join up – see .

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