Olympic Consultation in Greenwich Park

From Spencer Drury, PPC for Greenwich & Woolwich

On Saturday Greenwich and Woolwich Parliamentary Spokesman Cllr Spencer Drury spoke with the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) Community Relations and Communications Team at an open event for park users to discuss their plans for staging the Equestrian elements of the Games in Greenwich Park.

The event, which was held outside the Pavilion Tea Rooms, appeared extremely popular, with many visitors actively engaged in discussing how the park will cope with plans to hold the Olympic Games there in 2010. Among the visitors was former Chairman of NOGOE (No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events) Michael Goldman who spoke with Spencer at length about the problems which residents and park authorities would face in holding the equestrian events in Greenwich Park.

Spencer confirmed with Mr Goldman that the may way in which the Council could affect the organisation of the equestrian events in the park was through the planning process as, in fact, this was mainly a conversation between the Royal Parks and LOCOG. Spencer commented “Greenwich Council has to ensure that residents’ lives are not destroyed by the Games, but when the government consulted on which roads should be closed during the Games the Labour Council did not bother to reply prior to the deadline. Similarly we have real concerns that the Council is not fully engaged in trying to get the best out of the Games for Greenwich in terms of ‘legacy’ (long-term) benefits. The Labour Party seem to think more interest in sport is the major benefit, but this seems to me to be something which will happen without any involvement from Greenwich Council and there have to be more tangible long-term benefits.

I established this week that Greenwich’s team for organising the Olympics is only four officers, which is one of the smallest and looks insufficient when compared to the fourteen people employed by Hackney. I suspect that when funds do become available for parks or better facilities Hackney will get there will before Greenwich, leaving us picking up the scraps rather than getting the best for people across the borough.”

“I was also concerned to note that the Council is already increasing its spin programme and in successes lists £1.1m from “Environmental improvements to parks” which includes the £400,000 that Boris had given to Avery Hill Park even though this was obviously nothing to do with the Olympics.”

Spencer and Greenwich Conservatives remain committed to getting the best deal for Greenwich out of the Olympics and to minimising the impact of the park being closed on local residents, businesses and other visitors to the Park.