Government to take control of roads around Olympic venues?

From Spencer Drury, PPC for Greenwich & Woolwich

Readers may be aware that the government’s plans for taking control of the roads around the Olympic venues in 2012 were put out to consultation earlier this year. I hope that readers are also aware that the Labour Cabinet failed to agree a response within the deadline, but Council officers appear to have sent off an unapproved response prior to councillors seeing it. To my knowlege, no local residents’ groups or other relevant bodies were consulted in forming the Council's response. As Leader of the Conservative Opposition I responded prior to the deadline, and last week received the letter which is laid out below. The letter gives little detail, but I was alarmed to hear that the roads would be designated on 22nd July this year, meaning the Council’s lackadaisical response, is all that will be considered – it is no wonder that they are asking for further consultation in the latest edition of Pravda (Greenwich Time). From July 22nd, however, it appears that the government will be negotiating directly with local businesses and individuals, making the failure of our Council to do its job properly the first time round even more apparent.
 
The letter reads:


 
“Dear Sir/Madam,
 
Designation of the Olympic Route Network
 
Thank you for responding to the Department's consultation at the end of last year on the roads proposed to be included in the Olympic Route Network (ORN). The ORN is a network of roads between venues and accommodation to be used during the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games by vehicles carrying the athletes, officials and media who are at the heart of the Games.
 
I am writing to let you know that the Secretary of State has today laid an Order in Parliament designating the roads that will form the ORN. The Order comes into force on 22 July 2009. The formal effect of designation is to give the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) powers to approve planned road works on the ORN, and to make Traffic Regulation Orders on the ORN roads and designate additional ORN roads subject to consultation and the Secretary of State's consent.
 
The text of the Order, maps indicating the ORN routes, a report on the consultation responses and the Government's response to the issues raised are available on the Department’s website at http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/regional/orndesignation.  If you would like hard copies of any of these documents please contact me at the above address.
 
A number of changes have been made to the roads in the ORN in the light of the consultation responses. The Government's response also sets out the ODA's plans, starting this summer, to engage and consult with residents, businesses and other stakeholders on the design, implementation and operation of the traffic management measures to be applied on the ORN roads during the Games. If, in your response, you asked to be contacted by ODA to discuss these measures, ODA will be in contact with you direct.
 
The ODA has created a page on the London 2012 website to provide further information about its plans and a dedicated email address for enquiries: olympicroutenetwork@london2012.com
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Colin Poole”