Greenwich Park and the 2012 Olympics

Greenwich is London's greatest park. It offers the best views in London, houses some of the city's most important historical buildings, is framed on all sides by beauty and offers a stunning undulating landscape of almost infinite variety.

We grew up next door to it and have spent more time in it than any other public space we can think of. We remember one particularly fierce winter when people flocked to the slope in front of General Woolfe with their sleds, plastic bags, tin trays to take advantage of huge snow drifts. That day was the first time we ever saw a pair of skis. We remember how upset we were when the snow cleared to reveal a muddy brown gash that we thought would never be repaired.

We love Greenwich Park and we hate to see it come to harm. We hope we've made that point clear.

The campaign group No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events (NOGOE) is opposed to Greenwich Park being used as an Olympic venue and has come up with almost as many objections to the plans as we've had emails and leaflets telling us about the impending destruction of the park we hold so dear.

Here are their concerns in brief:

1. The park will be damaged by the event and that the cross country race route will go through sensitive parts of the park
2. Parts of the park will be closed for months in the build up to the games to allow for the construction of a temporary venue
3. The whole park will be closed to non-ticket-holders for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics
4. There will be traffic congestion in Greenwich during the Games
5. The Park is small compared with venues for previous Games
6. There will be no tangible legacy from the Games for the park

Consequently, they want the event to be held in someone else's back yard.

At yesterday's public consultation in Greenwich Park we spoke with a LOCOG official whom we know from our previous job. In response to points 1-3 this is what she said:

1. LOCOG will be working with the Royal Parks to ensure that damage is minimal - some low branches along the course will need to go, but the long-term effects on the park will be negligible. The route isn't fixed and it's likely that they will avoid the flower garden, which seems to be the primary concern of many who've raised this issue

2. A small part of the park on the north side will be closed for several months before the Games. But the rest of the park will remain open as usual

3. All true and unavoidable for logistical and security reasons

These three issues are really the crux of the matter. The loss of our park for a month in four year's time seems a reasonable price to pay - everyone will have plenty of time to work out how to find Blackheath or Hilly Fields by then. As for the damage, well the Park has coped with film festivals and marathons in the past and the sledge-ruined slope did recover. Greenwich will also recover from this.

The other points are all irrelevant distractions or part of a much wider question of whether you want London 2012 at all.

Regarding point 4, it's true that London's entire road system will be redrawn for the duration of the Games and this is likely to have all kinds of interesting knock-on effects for the city. Greenwich will not be alone and nor is severe congestion in Greenwich unusual. The Games are timed to take place in the holidays, which - as previous Games have shown - usually tempers the effects of a Games. Likewise, non-Games tourists usually arrange their trips to host cities to avoid the Olympics, so the net effect on visitor numbers for this period is minimal.

Point 5 seems particularly silly. Blogs like this one are suddenly fretting about what the international equestrian authorities may or may not think of the plans. If the IOC (who are not renowned for letting host nations offer sub-standard venues) are happy with it, that should be enough for us to discount the argument.

As for point 6...

During the bidding process, Paris was the favourite and most Londoners we met were inclined to believe the bookie's verdict. The UK had submitted half-arsed bids from Birmingham and Manchester in the past and lost by a mile. The same would happen with London.

Paris was promising to stage the beach volleyball competition beneath the Eiffel Tower - what could London offer that was so dramatic? Well, one of the answers was that Greenwich - a world heritage site - would host the equestrian events. Not quite as iconic perhaps, but a far more lovely setting. Together with Wimbledon, Wembley and Lords, Greenwich was part of a package that showed London was serious about staging the Games and putting on an event that would show the city and the Olympics in the best possible light.

So when we received the first of the many emails and leaflets we've had from protesters about the plans, which allege serious damage to the park with "no tangible legacy", our response has to be: "Apart from hosting the Olympics on our doorstep you mean?"

So what if they aren't offering us the sop of some new park benches? What does that matter compared with showing the world how beautiful south east London is or being able to take our kids to the Games or tell our grandchildren about the brief moment where the world came to play in our park?

If you don't believe in the romance of the Games and want something more tangible then how about the massive international media exposure that Greenwich will be given, the number of tourist itineraries it will appear on and the opportunity for the borough to refer to itself as 'Olympic' forever more.

Still not bricks and mortar enough for you? The massive regeneration of East London simply wouldn't have happened without the Olympic catalyst. Anyone who believes it would have gone ahead anyway should consider the fate of Lewisham Gateway. Without Greenwich as part of the bid, our initial case would have been that bit less compelling - we may not even have been awarded the Games.

There are plenty of people who don't like the Olympics and don't think we should be hosting it. We get that. But that argument's moot, to say the least. It's happening. The question now is how we make the most of it.

Here's what we think should happen:

  • The equestrian events should remain in Greenwich Park and we should all learn to love it and make the most of this extraordinary opportunity
  • Campaigners should be consulted on how to manage the event as sensitively as possible, maximising access and minimising impact
  • The course should be changed to avoid the flower gardens - easily done according to LOCOG
  • LOCOG should offer some more tickets to local people - ideally via the local state schools
  • Local campaigners should switch their focus to working out how we can secure some physical improvements to the park or the surrounding area in return for losing the use of our park for a few weeks in four years' time

109 comments:

Anonymous said...

NOGOE? Did they think of the initialism then find a cause or series of aims to fit it?

How about NIMBY? Because that's what this is.

To address the points:

1. The park will be damaged by the event and that the cross country race route will go through sensitive parts of the park

Wow... to think the parks of London had survived this long without the ravages of a few horses and runners ruining them for generations.

2. Parts of the park will be closed for months in the build up to the games to allow for the construction of a temporary venue


There are other places to go, and this is happening once, ONCE, in order to bring sporting events (and therefore, the park) to the WORLD stage. Some PERSPECTIVE, please!

3. The whole park will be closed to non-ticket-holders for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics

Boo hoo. This is going to last what, 2 weeks?

4. There will be traffic congestion in Greenwich during the Games

Welcome to London

5. The Park is small compared with venues for previous Games

Waaaaaaaaa.

6. There will be no tangible legacy from the Games for the park

Other than being known as the site of part of the games. Can't we just do something for ourselves for once?

I'm completely indifferent about the olympics but I can't stand "Citizens Against Virtually Everything" so felt like taking a stand here.

853blog said...

Traffic congestion in Greenwich? You surprise me ;-)

The lack of an open and honest public discussion on this is worrying - it does seem to be dominated by an anti-everything NIMBYism (represented by the Standard's reporting on the issue) on one side and a desperation to push it through quickly at all costs (represented by Greenwich Council, which would happily concrete the place over) on the other, and it's hard to see what the truth is.

I'm leaning towards your point of view - essentially, we've got to decide if losing Greenwich Park for a couple of months is a price worth paying for what could be an unforgettable summer.

Since the park just about borders Lewisham, has there been any effort to get people from that side of the boundary involved in all this? It dawned on me earlier that we've heard nothing from the relevant Greenwich councillors on this, so I wondered if anyone over there had got involved. After all, it affects you guys too.

Anonymous said...

Greenwich isn't London's greatest park. Is isn't even in the top three. Sorry - but it's now time to put your hyperbole back in its draw.

Tamsin said...

I was speaking to one of the vehemently antis at the weekend and I think some independent expert reassurance that vast tracts of the park won't need re-turfing after the event would be beneficial. You can bet your bottom dollar that once the tumult and the shouting dies (and the captains and kings have departed) if the park does need re-turfing it will be done on the cheap and no proper effort will be made to ensure that it is bedded down and watered in properly over the following eight weeks or so.
Also, of course, there is no guarantee that the good old British weather will not be dead against us - soaking during the event to maximise damage and dry afterwards to make restoration expensive and difficult.

Anonymous said...

Anon wot other parks have got a world heritage site in / next to them? Hyde and regents are nice but flat. St james is limited.

max said...

I have to confess that my opinion is tainted by prejudice.
I can't help but think that the Olympic games are a playground for politicians that procures a once in a lifetime diversion of funds from sports towards sport for a television event (the Olympics cost equals 500 swimming pools).
I'm sorry, if only Tessa Jowell would not have been involved I could have been more sympathetic.
I like horses though.

Brockley Nick said...

Max I share some of those reservations and horses have never been my friends.

max said...

Well,, if you don't like horses then you'll have to follow the event from Portland.

Anonymous said...

WELL DONE NICK. Thank heavens for some balance and perspective and positivity on this matter by a blogger.

bro said...

nick blud, if u grew up near the park how come u slummin it in the brox, g?

The Cat Man said...

im quite happily against this.

I just do not see why this park should be used when the committees have not even considered a range of alternatives.

The auditors, KPMG, have stated it would be too costly to change the location (requiring some sort of 'off olympic residence site' to be built, BUT (and this is a big but) KPMG did not even visit or cost-up alternative sites.

This will be right next to a world heritage site, come-on guys, do you honestly think this is going to come out untouched?

The Cat Man said...

I posted that comment without reading nicks pre-amble in detail.

Surprised you didnt mention the cock-up by KPMG as another big reason for a No Vote.

Brockley Nick said...

What KPMG did or didn't do is not relevant to the question of whether hosting the Games in the park is a good or a bad thing. But well done for posting in reply to an article you hadn't actually read.

fred vest said...

to be fair, most of catman's responses on here sounds like he hasn't read (or more properly, understood) what he is responding to

The Cat Man said...

You're right there Fred, often I skim read it then look at the comments.

But Nick, If you thought about it you would of realised what KPMG did or didn't go was DIRECTLY relevant to the question whether or not holding the games on a world heritage site was a good thing or a bad thing.

How does one make a reasonable comparision with alternatives if no alternatives were investigated?

I.e. in plain english, how do you assess whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing?

You seem to be an expert on this topic, how would you make a reasoned - impartial assessment of the relative econonic benefits?

lb said...

I have no problem with the park being used for this, but frankly I'd rather we didn't have the Olympics at all, given that all we'll get out of it in the long run is a burst of property speculation, a few poorly-used stadia and 'centres of sporting excellence' and two weeks of frothing media coverage.

Perhaps Portland could open a branch in the park itself - next to the 'Honest Sausage' might be a good spot.

Brockley Nick said...

Catman, the article was not a discussion of Greenwich's suitability compared with an indefinite number of alternative venues. I'm sure you could stick the events in a number of places.

The article was specifically about the points raised by NOGOE about whether or not Greenwich Park should be used at all.

Therefore, whether KPMG visited other venues is not relvant to the article. You're free to bring it up of course, but you might like to explain what it has to do with how long the park needs to be shut for and whether the rose bushes will survive.

Anonymous said...

Greenwich park has the best views of canary wharf. not london

Bea said...

Nick – totally agree with you on this one. I find the objections ridiculous and grass is grass – not an endangered species! It will recover and even if it doesn’t do well in the first year it most probably will by the second.

Can’t see how having the event will damage the Word Heritage Site structures as I am sure they will be strenuously guarded against accidental damage by the paying public.

In my opinion it is a beautiful setting for a great occasion – it is the Olympics after all – not a local gymkhana!

drakefell debaser said...

When did Canary Wharf break away from London?

Bea said...

It does have great views of London (Canary Wharf, The City, the West End ... all parts of London the last time I checked!) and the only other famous place with similar views - but from a greater distance - that I can think of is Hampstead Heath. However, in my opinion, the view at Greenwich is better.

Headhunter said...

Whether or not you dismiss it Nick, I also have concerns that KPMG appear to have been told to make Greenwich work, rather than hold a balanced enquiry.

An article, I think in the Evening Standard, said that the manager of the existing multi million pound riding facilities at Windsor, was not even spoken to by KPMG.

I may be wrong, but how can it be cost effective to construct brand new temporary facilities in Greenwich which supposedly will minimise damage to the park, rather than hold the events at Windsor with it's existing facilities and marvellous backdop (Windsor Castle).

The Olympic authorities have already backed down over use of the Royal Artillery Barracks for the shooting so it can't be that difficult to alter venues...

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

This is only sort of connected but I would be interested as to the reason why Eton Dorney lake has been chosen for the rowing rather than doing it in the Royal Docks. One of the docks, the Royal Albert Dock I think, already has a rowing course and is virtually next door to the main Olympic site.

I did hear that the Eton lake overlooks Windsor Castle and that was the USP, but I suppose by the same token the Windsor Eventing Course does as well. I am not sure that is the whole story, it might be that the Dock is not wide enough. Does anyone know how many lanes there are in an Olympic rowing lake?

Brockley Nick said...

I'm not "dismissing" it Headhunter, I'm saying it's a completely different issue.

The article was about whether Greenwich is a suitable venue, not about whether there might also be other suitable venues.

If we're hosting the Olympics, I think we should be pleased that Greenwich is part of it, so long as it doesn't seriously damage the park.

Based on what I have read and heard, I believe that the good of hosting it will far outweigh the bad. I don't believe there will be any serious damage to a park (which was built for riding) hosting a one-day cross country time trials, with horses riding along a single path. And I consider the closure of the park to non-ticket holding public for the duration of the Games a small price to pay compared with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host the Olympics on our doorstep.

As much as possible, the IOC likes to centralise events (football being the honorable exception). The reasons for this are that it makes many logistical exercises easier and it enhances the sense of occasion in the host city - that the whole city is coming to life, that people can travel easily from venue to venue and athletes, media and the public mingle as effectively as possible.

I dare say the organising budget could be shaved a bit if you moved the venue, but I don't want it moved. You could save a bit more money if you cut out all sorts of extraneous bits and pieces, the same way we could save money by stopping fireworks on New Years Eve. But I wouldn't want to.

Anonymous said...

It's the usual suspects and vested interests whining about this. All these whiners are doing is increasing the costs of the Olympics by wasting the organiser's time and energy. KPMG were only brought in allay the overblown 'concerns' fuelled by the politically orchestrated campaign with its anti-mayoral stance the E.S.

Research and evaluation of venues was done when the bid was put together. Then more evaluation was done when the IOC were deciding which city to choose. All that work and effort is clearly not enough for the whiners .

Stop being myopic and selfish and get behind the bid. We as a country do not have the time or the money to look into new venues at this stage.

The Olympics will be good for Greenwich, the world will be able to see how beautiful the park is.

The Cat Man said...

How beautiful the park was not is.

I suppose at least horse riding isn't exactly going to attract yobs of hooligans or 'chav's. That has to be a good thing for Greenwich.

I guess the point about this article was to address a small number of points raised by a particular body and not about the wider issue of suitability. As these comments clearly demonstrate the issue is far bigger than a hit list if comments raised by the NCLOS( or whatever the acronym was) and whether or not they were valid points.

Iphone's can be a tricky thing to browse on you know.

The Cat Man said...

Note : one normally assesses suitability relative to other alternatives.

osh said...

Catman, do be quiet. You're wrong from top to bottom. Even when you try to correct someone on a matter of pedantry to cover your shame, you still get it wrong. How beautiful the park "is" is fine. "Was" would be wrong.

And no, you don't always assess something's suitability versus everything else. You often compare things against a set of objective standards.

Anonymous said...

Shopping with the catman must be as painful as reading his drivel.

"Does this gimp suit me comfortably? Yes. Then I'll buy it."

"Is this gimp suit the only one in the world that could possibly fit me? No. Then I won't buy it."

The Cat Man said...

sarcasim is a form of wit. Clearly you have none.

drakefell debaser said...

I guess the point about this article was to address a small number of points raised by a particular body and not about the wider issue of suitability

At 20 minutes to 6 this morning you commented and missed the point due to ‘skim reading’. Now at half one in the afternoon you realise what the article is about?

I wouldn’t employ you to audit my collection of common pebbles.

Bea said...

I think you mean "sarcasm is the lowest form of wit"... or is this a new Catism?

fred vest said...

a couple of comments from catman today (or to be more correct pretty much everyhting he's ever said) has really made me wonder about the state of the education system in this country today. tony blair wanted 50% of all kids to go to university, but catman is a living breathing example of what a pointless target these kind of things are - i think this guy is a perfect example of what happens when someone has education, but neither the intelligence nor experience of life that is required for that eduaction to actually be of any use in practical or theoretical terms, and is therefore ill equipped to even stand a chance of figuring out what is going on around him in the world today

i left school at 16 and had no formal education since and from time to time i used to wonder what i missed out on, but increasingly these days i would answer 'nothing' to such a question

someone mentioned on another thread the old adage about it being better to be quiet and have everyone think your stupid than speak out and remove all doubt - catman, that's the best advice you'll ever get

Bea said...

Fred Vest - how about you missed out on learning when a capital letter is used in the English language?

This link should help ...

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/592/01/

Sorry, I hate pedants but in this instance I felt it needed to be said.

Headhunter said...

I haven't really made up my mind regarding this yet. It certainly would be nice to have the riding events round the corner from home, although whether I would actually manage to secure a ticket is a bit doubtful!

I couldn't care less if the park is not available for a couple of weeks in 4 years. I would just hate the park to be irreparably damaged and the authorities so far seem to have just made up their minds without any proper analysis.

Anonymous said...

In who's interest is it to irreparably damage the park.
Even this business about the grass being mangled and then being replaced by a substandard substituted is honestly just silly.
Do people think that Locog would do that or even being allowed to get away with something like that?

The intention is not to ruin the park it is showcase if anything, to have a beautiful background. So people can see the other aspects of London, it's not all Notting Hill and the Queen.

fred vest said...

"Fred Vest - how about you missed out on learning when a capital letter is used in the English language?

This link should help ..."

thanks, i've had no idea up until now when they should, and when they shouldn't be used

this link will be a great help in the future

Headhunter said...

It's not just the grass, it's the proposed lopping of branches off the couple of hundred odd year old trees and the earlier proposal that the track would run through the rose garden bit. What've Notting Hill and the Queen got to do with anything?!

Anonymous said...

Really? but don't you read other people's writing and notice patterns. That there is a full stop "." which is very often followed by a word with a capital letter.

This is fascinating.

Brockley Nick said...

@HH - it was a route which they hadn't properly planned and said they were very open to avoiding the rose garden given people's feelings about it. It's not like they were planning on trampling the flowers themselves.

And as for the branches, I imagine it's quite likely that they can avoid any really old specimens and keep pruning to a minimum. They weren't planning on jumping over the elizabeth oak you know.

Anyway, glad you agree it's fine in principle and we just need to be respectful of the flora. We're in agreement then.

fred vest said...

knock knock, anybody there

Headhunter said...

Well I guess we'll see what happens. It looks like the decision to hold the events at Greenwich is pretty much foregone so we need to work with it. I should think there'll be a lot more shouting and screaming from NOGOE and others once the actual riding route is announced! This is just the beginning!

Headhunter said...

Why do threads here on Broc Cent days always seem to descend into mindless abuse? They never used to... Be nice to each other!

mb said...

It's the recession, we'll be climbing over each others bodies to claim the last olive soon, mark my words.

On the Greenwich park thing, I’m not that bothered. I’m surprised that they seem to have shelved the idea of using The Dome though? It finally looks like it could be a descent venue?

Just found out my office is being moved to Victoria to be closer to the behemoth that is TfL, and there was me all smug because the East London Line was going to spit me out not far from Aldgate – arse!

(One degree, grade C English Language, can’t spell – am I stoopid? discuss)

Headhunter said...

You'll have to use your internal contacts to campaign at TFL for the re-opening of the high level/Brockley Lane station. that'd take you straight into Victoria

State the obvious said...

Upper Level Brockley Station Network Rail not TfL

Notting Hill and the Queen subjects of major international films hence how we are percieved abroad.

Monkeyboy said...

Brockley just cannot stay out the news, Darling Road was featured tonight.

They we’re interviewing ‘ordinary’ people, or a bit skint to put it another way, on the impact of the budget. One was an average family, the other was a single mum. Didn’t interview any fascists, meedja luvies or city lawyers which is a tad unbalanced in my view. Having said that it is Ch4 news which is a pit of Guardian reading nonces as we all know.

The Cat Man said...

true.

Monkeyboy said...

Cheer up cat man, perhaps they'll interview you next time.

Anonymous said...

Would be more of an expose than an interview.

fred vest said...

"Didn’t interview any fascists, meedja luvies or city lawyers which is a tad unbalanced in my view"

brockley central in not representative of brockley shocker!!

The Cat Man said...

I hope so my dear Monkeyboy, I'm just waiting for the chance to display my true colours - Red, White and Blue.

Monkeyboy said...

To be fair I don't think anyone has ever suggested that this blog (and the comments) is anything other than representative of the views of windbags of various political shades.

That sentance needs a grammer check, feel free everyone.

Must do some work, everything is going to poo here.

Headhunter said...

OK I'll indulge - isn't "grammar" spelled with an "a"? And surely everything at Metronet has already gone to poo?

The Cat Man said...

All at the same time? Its not a communist regime you know.

fred vest said...

"Must do some work, everything is going to poo he"

you got the pope visiting?

Monkeyboy said...

Oh no HH, we've got plenty of latitude to make things worse.

And Citizen Vest, I didn't want to use the S-word 'cos it offends those of a delicate disposition.

MLB said...

There doesn't seem a great deal of point in getting worked up about the park. Yet. The Olympics are going to be completely changed by the time they arrive, as the financial climate clobbers all the plans. Virtually no partnership funding has been found, or is likely to be found. Either for the direct Olympic things, or legacy projects. East London line extension to Clapham, part of the bid, now probably axed for exmaple.

Anonymous said...

If the venue is to small why not expand the cross country event to Blackheath?

Not sure why the entire park needs to be closed. That does not happen at Hyde Park when members of the Royal family etc attend music events in the park.

Anonymous said...

but surely greenwich park is just a scar and empty useless wasteland. it should all be dug up and 'remediated' and made suitable for the building of tower blocks to realise some profit for speculators. that must be the way to go!

Tamsin said...

A flyer has come my way for a protest event this Sunday - meet inside the park in front of the Maritime Museum at 2.30 on October 11th. The idea is to make a ring around the park. People are asked to bring a metre of green or white ribbon if they can. Children can decorate and war "Save the Park Hats" with prizes for the bet. Rather worryingly you are reminded that you take part at your own risk. (Shades of the trips to Ely cathedral in "1984" - or was it "Brave New World" - with the random "accidents" to discourage people.)

Website for more info is htpp://www.nogoe2012.com

Auntie Nimby said...

When is the event for those in favour of the Park being involved in the Olympics?

I will attend that one.

Boxy said...

I can't wait for the Olympics on our doorstep. It's going to be so exciting.

Monkeyboy said...

Have to say that on balance I'm for...I'd love it and peeps I know in Sydney said it was a great two weeks.

With reservations though, the billions it's costing? Don't know how you do the equation to say if it's worth it. Some one will no doubt work out how many nurses it would pay for etc...

I'm prepared to be shot down...go for it.

Nick, a new poll on the Olympics? A simple for or against?

Tamsin said...

Well that would be more than we were ever offered before the bid went in - despite the vaunted "consultation". On the website you could only say "yes" you supported the bid and if you e-mailed in as my husband did expressing grave reservations about the potential for cost overrun etc. you got an automated response from Lord Coe himself thanking you for your support!

On the other hand now it's happening it is a fairly exciting prospect and - since Londoners will be paying through the nose for it for years to come - we might as well get our money's worth and enjoy it. What happened to the notion of, as an area, taking up the cause of a far off country to cheer for their athletes who wont necessarily have much crowd support?

However - back to this thread - the worry with Greenwich is that with the costs having to be cut it is the restoration work afterwards that will suffer. And the waste of money creating the courses and infrastructure (only to be in theory dismantled again afterwards)when Windsor, Hickstead etc. are already geared up to such events and will need much less work done on them. "Historic Greenwich" looked very pretty in the bid documents but I would have thought the IOC could accept that the economic realities and the global crisis can reasonably mean that this commitment should not be fulfilled. The costs are just too high.

Monkeyboy said...

Actually the one strong thing in London's favour is that there are probably a few hundred people from almost every corner of the earth.....plus there may be free hats.

jcheyne said...

'The massive regeneration of East London simply wouldn't have happened without the Olympic catalyst.'

Really? Stratford already had a £4billion 'redevelopment scheme' at Stratford City which it was claimed would create 35,000 jobs and provide some 5,000 homes. The Olympics was only claiming 6,000 net new jobs when the bid was launched. The ODA has admitted there is no legacy from the Athletes' Village, the housing was going to be built anyway. Blocks of flats are going up all over the area, despite the Olympics. In fact the Olympics has slowed things up as land is now not available till after 2012. Stratford already had very good transport connections. For more information on this you can go to gamesmonitor.org.uk.

Brockley Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brockley Nick said...

Here's a link for anyone interested in how credible the last contributor is:
http://ow.ly/u2vy

love detective said...

in what way does that link determine, either negatively or positively, the credibilty of the last contributor?

it's the same as someone responding to your complaints about poor train services for brockley by linking to the fact that you've previously complained about poor train services for brockley, and then making the claim that that act helps people determine the credibility or otherwise of you as a person (as opposed to the empirical content of their post itself which given it's empirical status can quite easily be validated or shown to be false - it's not like he's trying to prove the rational existence of god or anything here)

if you have an issue with what the last contributor has written perhaps it would be best to address that rather than some bizarre (and unsuccessful) attempt to undermine their personal credibility through pointing out something that can already be deduced from the content of their post in the first place - i.e. that the person, quite correctly in my opinion, does not automatically and blindly accept the dogma that hosting the olympics automatically means everyone in that area actually benefits from it.

Brockley Nick said...

I can't be arsed to wade through the treacle on that website, which is run by a bunch of green inkers, particularly late at night when I should have been asleep and certainly not on this bright and sunny morning. Included the link so people can make up their own minds, thanks.

Ovid said...

Here's what one of the site's writers says:

"Starkly, the Olympics are an interpellation of post-Fascist regularity, the disciplinary subject imposed through state violence, corporate sponsorship and gender 'enhancement'; and remediated (and expanded) by Blairite experiments in labour market and social regulation, acutely spatial phenomena. Project Mimique has compiled several press briefing papers for anti-Olympic campaigns No London 2012 and its later incarnation, Games Monitor."

I reckon Nick has a point! Sound's like Fred would get on like a house on fire with em though.

love detective said...

@nick

not really addressed any of the points raised in your reply there, but in terms of the words written on this very website by the person whose credibility you seem determined to undermine and which prompted your response to him - are you saying these are false/incorrect? if so why such a roundabout and indirect route in doing so? if they are true then what's the problem with these facts being thrown into the mix about a discussion on that very topic? why cloud the facts being put forward by a shift in the debate onto to the discusser (is that a word?) rather than that being discussed

i can see how these facts, if true, would undermine your own (subjective - like everyone elses) argument on the matter but surely that's no excuse for seeking to undermine them through casting some (unspecified and vague) asperations on the credibility of the messenger

on the other hand if they are false surely an engagement with them directly would lead to the development of what john mill would call a 'livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error'

Brockley Nick said...

The point is Fred that I don't believe their "facts" - their clear and extreme bias on the topic means that I think that it is highly likely that they have misrepresented the "facts" they speak of.

If I had an infinite amount of time, perhaps I would research all these points, but I don't have that time. There are plenty of criticisms that you can level at the Olympics and many that I would agree with. But I choose my sources wisely.

love detective said...

"Here's what one of the site's writers says:"

that's like me pointing to something catman has said to have a dig at nick (or even worse than that given the quote itself was taken from a different site to games monitor) - especially when the first bit of text on the link nick provided says

Games Monitor has a policy that individuals and campaigns represent themselves

Brockley Nick said...

Catman is not one of this site's authors.

Anonymous said...

Well he bloody well should be.

Brockley Nick said...

Catman has his own blog.

love detective said...

@nick - "The point is Fred that I don't believe their "facts"....If I had an infinite amount of time, perhaps I would research all these points, but I don't have that time"

nick that's pretty laughable - you're saying you don't believe their assertions even though you yourself admit you havn't even researched them or the issues to which they relate to - so you're saying an assertion is incorrect purely by reference to your faith - which is fine in itself, religious people do it all the time and they are entitled to their faith, but equally others are entitled to ridicule them when they project that faith outwards into the public domain without anything other than their faith in their faith to back it up

personally I think hiding behind the excuse that you don't have time to research their assertions, whilst at the same time claiming they are false, is a pretty untenable position.

love detective said...

"Catman is not one of this site's authors"

Games Monitor has a policy that individuals and campaigns represent themselves

the same thing that is said about games monitor is applicable to this site, individuals who write on it represent themselves and not the site itself

Brockley Nick said...

re: Catman - the situation is not comparable at all. The person Ovid quoted is one of the site's main authors and is listed among their key spokesmen for media enquiries. What they mean when they describe their policy is that it a loose collection of wierdoes, united by a chip on their shoulder about London 2012 but who can't quite agree on the specifics - so they issue that as a get-out clause.

As for it being "laughable" to dismiss certain sources as a result of their clear bias, that's nonsense. It's perfectly reasonable, for example, to dismiss sources like Junk Science and their dodgy presentation of "facts" about global warming, without having to carry out one's own research in to each and every claim they make.

Accountancy may allow you to spend all day researching claim and counter-claim made by every source, PR does not.

The Cat Man said...

Have I missed something?

love detective said...

"The person Ovid quoted is one of the site's main authors and is listed among their key spokesmen for media enquiries"

bending the truth yet again nick, nowhere is anyone listed as a spokesperson for the site itself

"so they issue that as a get-out clause"

or they state what is a fact, that the site is a loose collection of people with a common interest in showing another side to the accepted dogma but not one where there is any kind of unified approach or practical/theoretical unity in their opposition to said dogma

"As for it being "laughable" to dismiss certain sources as a result of their clear bias, that's nonsense"

the poster stated a small number of assertions which could easily be verifiable or disproved, you're hiding behind the fact that they have an agenda (something that none of us, not even your christ like self is immune from)to categorically assert that those assertions are incorrect, regardless of what truth content they may contain - your faith is trumping empirical verification because it suits your argumentto do so as you're unable to raise to the simple challenge of addressing the assertions as stated

"Accountancy may allow you to spend all day researching claim and counter-claim made by every source, PR does not."

PR clearly allows a staggeringly monumental amount of time to research and write the content that you churn out on this site, so to suggest that you're so busy with your day job to actually address the points being made by someone who you seem so keen to undermine is showing a rather telling unawareness of the elephant in the sitting room

ps should you really be dishing out personal information about contributors here? what's going to happen the next time someone has the audacity to pull you up on a poor approach to debate? full publication of their name, address and date of birth? what other personal details of posters are being mined and then dished out for public consumption on the whim of the site editors?

Brockley Nick said...

Whatever, Fred. You've given out plenty of information about yourself on this site and your own, but if outing you as an accountant is something you're not confortable with, I will delete the reference and your repetition of it. Let me know.

Re your first point, it's not "bending the truth" either. The website is a vehicle for this group. The website for the group lists that person as a potential interviewee.

You are the one trying to compare that person's role to that of catman on this site. That is a bending of the truth worthy of Fox News.

love detective said...

"You've given out plenty of information about yourself on this site and your own"

and what does any of that have to do with divulging information that I havn't given out?

"but if outing you as an accountant is something you're not confortable with, I will delete the reference and your repetition of it. Let me know."

i'm not comfortable with the general fact that you are mining personal information about people which you then use at a later date when you're struggling to deliver a credible argument against them - there's a distinctly distasteful stench about that whole thing.

But for your information if you do insist on divulging personal information about the people who visit this site you could at least get it right - I have an accountancy qualification but I don't work in accountancy or anything even remotely related to it - so you can update your files with that

"Re your first point, it's not "bending the truth" either. The website is a vehicle for this group. The website for the group lists that person as a potential interviewee. "

yes and what does it say in relation to that person, that they:-

are available to speak on selected issues in an individual capacity

so again I repeat, nowhere is that person listed as a spokesperson for the site itself - you are aware of the difference of someone speaking in a personal capacity and on behalf of an organisation itself?

"You are the one trying to compare that person's role to that of catman on this site."

no i'm not comparing 'roles', i'm saying that in both cases the views put forward by both individuals are those of that person in an individual capacity

ps how comes you've always got time to engage in in depth arguments with me but you're oh so busy with your day job to check out a couple of simple facts to assess their validity or otherwise?

Brockley Nick said...

I haven't really and I should resist the temptation to respond but you are so darned aggravating.

Anyway, I most certainly do not go around mining info about people who use this site, it's simply that we have a mutual acquaintance. I forgot that I had learned it from them, rather than via you on this site. The offer to delete the remark is a genuine one.

Anyway, to your point, life is too short, so I shan't dwell on the original argument any longer.

welcome to 2009 said...

NOW you've revealed that Fred has a friend! What other personal nuggets are you going to dish out?

The Cat Man said...

Would anyone like a cup of tea?

Anonymous said...

The net's closing in Ross aka Fred West aka ? Time to account for yourself.

love detective said...

completely anonymous man demands slightly less anonymous man becomes even slightly less anonymous than previously

Anonymous said...

And that from totally Name Change Man! An accountant noch? My how they laughed at the South London Press when they read that one.

Reg said...

Can't be doing many tax returns.

Anonymous said...

He's filing late.

Monkeyboy said...

Did someone mention elephants? Like to see them tackle the 7ft fence.

jcheyne said...

'The person Ovid quoted is one of the site's main authors and is listed among their key spokesmen for media enquiries. What they mean when they describe their policy is that it a loose collection of wierdoes, united by a chip on their shoulder about London 2012 but who can't quite agree on the specifics - so they issue that as a get-out clause.'

Well, thanks for that BN! I informed you of my identity. I have no idea who Brockley Nick is. I am one of the 'loose collection of weirdoes, united by a chip of their shoulder about London 2012' referred to in Brockley Nick's putdown and whose statements he dismisses without research. He refers to our 'facts'. Perhaps he could explain which of my assertions is untrue and which 'facts' he is relying upon. This is a link to a pre-Olympics description of Stratford City http://www.futurestratford.com/project_detail.php?projectID=22
The project had planning permission before the Olympics bid was won and before planning permission was granted for the Olympics. All this information was also in the LDA evidence to the Compulsory Purchase Inquiry for which I have the documentation. It was a stand alone project. The amount of housing in the project has since increased due to alterations in density.

As far as the Legacy from the Athletes' Village goes the information comes in a FoI from the Olympic Delivery Authority itself. The FoI is attached to the article below. http://www.gamesmonitor.org.uk/node/667

The net job figures were produced by the LDA for the Compulsory Purchase Inquiry. I cannot produce the link for those documents as it no longer exists but I have the original documentation. I participated in the compulsory purchase inquiry so maybe that makes me an unreliable witness as I had something to lose - my home! I must have a chip in that case.

The statement about the Olympics slowing things up was made by Jason Prior, the Olympic masterplanner. Charles Williams (in the Property Newsletter) reported that “Prior believes the long-term regeneration elements and development opportunities will happen with or without the Olympics. What may differ is the pace of change. In the event of a successful bid, developers in partnerships might have to play a longer-term game – the land would not be freed for its end use until after the 2012 event.” The original Property Newsletter article is attached to the link below. http://www.gamesmonitor.org.uk/node/640
Visitors to Stratford can see the new housing which has been built all along Stratford High Street, Three Mills and in Stratford itself. The area is criss crossed with canals and rivers making it a property developer's delight and this process was under way before the Olympics came along.

I limited myself to a few instances but could have provided many more. Games Monitor takes a particular attitude and is upfront about that. 'Spokesmen' are simply people who contribute to the site. Plainly we agree for the most part on our point of view, chipped or weird as it may be perceived to be. I provided a link in case anyone wanted to examine the assertion, put about by supporters of London 2012, that the Games will be a catalyst for regeneration. With spending on the 2012 scale it is to be expected there will be some result! But there is a mass of academic research into the impact of mega events like the Olympics which questions the benefits which are claimed for these projects. Indeed the government even commissioned its own report 'Game Plan' (signed off by Tony Blair) before the Bid was launched which warned against expecting the very benefits which are now claimed. The government then ignored its own report.

I note that this blog includes the caution 'Don't say anything on the blog that you wouldn't say in person to the people you're talking about.'

I understand the dismissive attitude adopted by Brockley Nick is the one he would adopt if he met me in person!

Anonymous said...

HAHA! Nice one.

Hoisted by his own mung.

Brockley Nick said...

@jcheyne - thanks for your message and its curteous tone. I did indeed break my own guidelines, sorry - Fred has that effect sometimes.

To address your points.

- I am a resident of Brockley and I run this site. My contact details are available on here.

- I don't think it's legitimate to say that the campaign cannot be held responsible for the views of someone who contributes much of the content of the site and who is a spokesperson for the campaign the site supports - especially when the views in question are about the topic which the site group campaigns on. If one of this site's contributors was a BNP member who wrote content for the site in support of the BNP and used this site to reach the media, I don't think it would be acceptable for me to deny any responsibility for the views of that person, whatever disclaimer I might put on the site. I even delete the odd swearword that Kate uses, sometimes ;)

- It is not true to say that I have done no research, I know a certain amount about both the redevelopment of Stratford and London 2012. My point was that I cannot address every point made by every correspondent on here, especially when the original comment had no links. I felt it sufficient to post the link to the site's list of contributors, so that people make up their own mind how much credence to give the comments. I had been planning to leave it at that.

However, to address the more substantive points about Stratford's development:

- The Stratford City project has indeed been kicking around for a long time and is more closely linked to the transport hub being created in Stratford than it is London 2012. However, that alone would only have delivered limited regeneration - a Westfield shopping centre and a mini Canary Wharf style development. It's doubtful that either would have delivered much regenerative benefit for the wider community - Canary Wharf and Westfield are good examples in that case.

The Olympic Park, the environmental clean-up, the associated infrastructure being built, the venues and the village are all the direct result of the Olympics being held there. Would Stratford have been a "developers dream" without the environmental improvements? No. The quality of the private sector development in much of stratford is incredibly poor - the quality of design and attention to the public realm being used by the ODA is vastly superior. Quality is what will ultimately determine the area's success.

Would the apartments have been built were the Olympic Village not a requirement? We can say with almost 100% certainty that they would not. The property market collapsed and the public sector had to intervene to ensure that the building could be funded. Would they have done this without the Olympics? No.

The quote you provide about the Games holding up development is by one man before the Games were even awarded, when many of the details of the development were unknown. With hindsight, given the collapse in the property market, his comments are clearly wrong.

I don't doubt that the jobs and sports legacy is regularly overstated and have never said otherwise.

However, the construction industry has just endured one of the biggest collapses in living memory and Olympic construction has prevented the situation from being much worse, such is the scale of the work.

Then there are the related projects that would not have happened without the motivating factor of the Olympics, such as High Street 2012. These legacy projects are not as good or as big as they arguably could have been and you could make the case that these are things that Councils should be doing anyway, but the reality is that they mostly don't - as the example of Brockley Road shows.

There are many other examples of course, but I hope that clarifies my position.

I'm not sure what your work is trying to achieve other than to make people feel bad about the Olympic Games that we will be hosting. Your website is all shade and no light. I consider the arguments you put forward in that context.

Tamsin said...

For better or worse the Olympics is done and dusted and we have to make the best of it - but where there is room for manoeuvre (as there possibly still is in the siting of the cross country) we should still express our doubts if relevant (it was not at all easy to do so in the lead up to bid - with the official websites only allowing you to say "yes" you supported it)and the relevant powers need to know that the voters to whom they are ultimately responsible are aware and watching in the hope that that they keep up to their promises on costs and clean up.

Therefore such websites, even casting shadows as they do, are extremely important.

jcheyne said...

Thanks, although I am not sure it’s fair to blame Fred!

I have no idea what to say regarding disclaimers. The website was kindly created by a professional web designer who included a disclaimer and I have never thought about it!

‘It is not true to say that I have done no research’

I didn’t say you hadn’t done research. You said wouldn’t research our work.

‘the original comment had no links.’

I put up Games Monitor’s address for those who wanted to search.

‘The Stratford City project has indeed been kicking around for a long time and is more closely linked to the transport hub being created in Stratford than it is London 2012. However, that alone would only have delivered limited regeneration - a Westfield shopping centre and a mini Canary Wharf style development. It's doubtful that either would have delivered much regenerative benefit for the wider community - Canary Wharf and Westfield are good examples in that case.’

When the bid was won Stratford City had a budget of £4billion, the Olympics bid had a budget of £2.4billion (now inflated to £9.34billion but not delivering any more than before), Stratford City claimed it would create 35,000 jobs, the Olympics 6,000 net jobs (should be 4,400 according to latest LDA stats). You think the smaller project, the Olympics, would necessarily have a greater effect than the larger?

Stratford City, now claimed by the ODA as an Olympic project and renamed Stratford 2011, was described as a ‘Metropolitan Centre serving all London’. Future Stratford says ‘There will be prestige offices, department stores and shops, premises for small businesses, schools, health centres, parks, community facilities and much more.’ They forgot to mention hotels.

I agree with you that schemes like Canary Wharf and Stratford City are of questionable value. I am not arguing for Stratford City only making comparisons of scale. I am no keener on these development projects than the Olympics.

‘Transport hub being created’?

The existence of a transport hub was a key reason for putting the Olympics in Stratford.

Before any of this Stratford already had two tube lines, DLR, mainline rail into Liverpool Street and out into East Anglia, Eurostar to Europe and Silverlink, was one stop from the District and Hammersmith and City lines at Mile End, had a major bus station, coach link to Stansted and East Anglia, was a short drive to the M11 and M12 and the Blackwall Tunnel motorways and connected by DLR to the City Airport!

‘The Olympic Park, the environmental clean-up, the associated infrastructure being built, the venues and the village are all the direct result of the Olympics being held there.’

The housing for the Athletes’ Village is not being built because of the Olympics. That housing was already planned and is being modified for the Olympics. The 110 hectare park is not the ‘largest new park in Europe for 150 years’ as claimed and includes 92.8 hectares of already available open space. Perfectly good parkland has been lost at Eastway and Arena Field. Environmental cleaning up would have happened on a piecemeal basis as it was required when development occurred, as happens elsewhere and some unnecessary cleaning up, for example at Eastway, which already had a perfectly sensible use as a cycle track, would have been avoided. In fact serious concerns exist about the quality of the clean up and the dangers of dust pollution caused by it.

Who knows what will be done with the venues. In many cities they just lie idle at public expense for years.

Will continue….

jcheyne said...

‘Would Stratford have been a "developers dream" without the environmental improvements? No. The quality of the private sector development in much of stratford is incredibly poor - the quality of design and attention to the public realm being used by the ODA is vastly superior. Quality is what will ultimately determine the area's success.’

Yes, it was already a developer’s dream. Businesses could make a packet selling their land for housing development and were already doing so. Many of the housing developments I mentioned were already under construction or finished before the Olympics bid was successful. Planning permissions were already in the pipeline for others. Many are situated along canals and rivers. It was this kind of development that Jason Prior was referring to in his comment (see more below), which has actually slowed up both because land has been taken out of circulation and because councils stopped giving housing permissions to limit the possible compulsory purchase compensation claims from businesses.

One thing I agree with is the quality of much of the development in Stratford is poor but that doesn’t prevent it happening! Regrettably quality is not the determining factor in promoting development. Profit is.

‘Would the apartments have been built were the Olympic Village not a requirement? We can say with almost 100% certainty that they would not. The property market collapsed and the public sector had to intervene to ensure that the building could be funded. Would they have done this without the Olympics? No.’

The false claims of a housing legacy go back before the credit crunch so it is illegitimate to now claim it for the Olympics because of the credit crunch. I can’t say whether the housing would now be built as quickly because the credit crunch has indeed intervened, but it would still have been built as the land's use was designated for housing and it would not have involved the public purse. Housing elsewhere on the Stratford City site (not for the Athletes’ Village) is being built regardless of the credit crunch, so who knows? The fact that this housing was taken over for the Village meant no sales could occur before 2013 reducing its profitability and increasing costs as the housing has to be converted after the Games. It also put the ODA in a weak negotiating position.

‘The quote you provide about the Games holding up development is by one man before the Games were even awarded, when many of the details of the development were unknown. With hindsight, given the collapse in the property market, his comments are clearly wrong.’

Jason Prior, who made the comment, is the Head Masterplanner, who has worked on the project throughout and knew more about it from the planning side than almost anyone else. His point is self-evident. Taking land out of circulation means development will be held up! The collapse in the property market doesn’t alter this. As Prior said, regeneration would have happened with or without the Olympics!

I’ll continue.....

jcheyne said...

‘I don't doubt that the jobs and sports legacy is regularly overstated and have never said otherwise.’

Good, we can agree on something! At the moment there’s next to no sports legacy, £550million taken away from children’s sport, more from other community and arts projects, venues still without an end use, Newham/Tower Hamlets led sports projects abandoned, no evidence of increased sports participation in the lead up to 2012, in fact it is declining particularly in East London, and no evidence of health benefits from watching elite sports.

‘However, the construction industry has just endured one of the biggest collapses in living memory and Olympic construction has prevented the situation from being much worse, such is the scale of the work.’

The credit crunch is not a legacy. Spending on the Olympics prevents construction spending elsewhere. This is just making the best of a mess with a highly inflated budget. Value for money was always an issue and a perfectly legitimate point to discuss when considering whether to spend so much public money on this project.

‘Then there are the related projects that would not have happened without the motivating factor of the Olympics, such as High Street 2012. These legacy projects are not as good or as big as they arguably could have been and you could make the case that these are things that Councils should be doing anyway, but the reality is that they mostly don't - as the example of Brockley Road shows.’

It is extraordinary how advocates of the Games point to the failings of the planning system to justify an enormous project which includes so many false claims. It is indeed sad that so many schemes fail or are botched and this is an excellent reason to look at the way development happens or doesn’t happen. But that doesn’t make this project any better.

‘I'm not sure what your work is trying to achieve other than to make people feel bad about the Olympic Games that we will be hosting.’

What is the purpose of our website except to ‘make people feel bad’ about the Olympic Games? What a killjoy! ‘…that we will be hosting.’ How unpatriotic! How dare I criticise such a noble national endeavour?! I confess to having no interest in the Olympic Games as they are at present constituted and have no interest in our hosting them. I consider the IOC’s demands on cities are ridiculous. There is no need for every bidding city to create a new Olympic Park. If the IOC wants to hold its Games in an integrated park it should buy some land and build its own permanent park.

‘Your website is all shade and no light. I consider the arguments you put forward in that context.’

I have been obliged to pay close attention to the Olympics as it required the destruction of my home and community and in the course of this have had to listen to endlessly repeated claims which are palpably false. So according to you, if I think this is a bad project I should somehow overlook all that and not say anything? The claims made for the Olympics turn out over and over again to be at best exaggerated and at worst outright lies. The Olympics, which are promoted by a relentless publicity machine, deserve close scrutiny just like any other development project, private or public, in order to establish who will gain and who will lose. To do that, far from being all shade, our website seeks to drag the Olympics, kicking and screaming, into the light!

Ovid said...

So...

You think a 9 billion pound project is smaller than a 4 billion pound project.

You think construction work for the olympics would have just happened elsewhere, by magic, during economic meltdown.

And you think polluted, semi-derelict land that has been that way for decades would have been cleaned up in piecemeal fashion in anywhere like the same timeframe as the olympic clean-up with the immovable deadline!

FAIL

love detective said...

excellent series of posts jcheyne - a refreshing perspective and change from the usual blind acceptance that is so often trotted out as informed analysis

(and all done in the face of what seemed like a particularly nasty onslaught of unprovoked attempts to undermine both your personal credibility as a commentator and your points being made)

Tamsin said...

@Ovid (and why "Ovid" - exile or poetry?) I don't think the size of a project is necessarily to be measured in simple cost but in result and long term value.

Good point about the clean-up though. The sort of thing (like the fen drainage and the railways) that is a mess when done by capitalism and needs a major co-oridnated initiative, which the Olympics have given to the area.

Ovid said...

Oh I agree Tamsin, it isn't to be measured in cost alone, it's just that our friend claimed that the Olympic project was smaller because the original reported budget was smaller (2bn), rather than what the actual budget is (9bn).

Anyone who knows anything about public sector projects knows that costs are always understated at first because no one wants to tell the public the real cost. So the fact that it was originally budgeted at 2bn is neither here nor there. The real cost is 9bn, which is more than twice the budget for Stratford City. Our friend was claiming the Olympics was smaller.

And your point about long-term value is spot on. Which do you think has more long-term value - a massive, beautiful park or a shopping centre?

Tamsin said...

Beautiful park or white elephant - look at the troubled legacy of the Dome (smaller in scale - and only now settling down, but the cost of anything there puts it right of reach of any but tourists).

The Olympic project is a massive distortion of normal development and as soon as they were announced had an effect on other matters not getting funding.

jcheyne said...

Ovid doesn't seem to understand inflation. The inflation is in the spending not the result. Actually less is now promised in terms of facilities than was originally promised in 2003 when the proposals were originally presented. It is of course true that projects like this overrun on their budgets. In this case the budget was known to be wrong and objectors did try to point this out at the time. We were dismissed, just as I am now by Ovid, by the likes of Livingstone and Jowell who stood by the original £2.4billion budget until the autumn of 2006. They wanted, just like Ovid, to have it both ways. They lied about the budget and then wanted to claim that it would produce more than was originally claimed. Either way the outcome in jobs claimed was still six times as great for Stratford City as opposed to the Olympics.

One also has to consider what the two budgets will deliver. For example, the Olympics will spend £1.5billion on security, hardly a productive expenditure. The spending on sports stadiums will produce little in terms of regeneration. Some of the stadiums will be knocked down after the Games and others, at the moment, have no end use. The reality is the budget of £9.34billion is just the start. There will be plenty more spent on the future maintenance of stadiums, job creation programmes, etc, before this is over. There is also plenty of hidden expenditure as local authorities and other agencies are busy spending money on the Olympics but none of this appears in the main budget.

As for cleaning up I have to point out that this does indeed happen as development happens. If land is valuable then it will be cleaned up as developers will want to make a profit out of it and the land around the Lea Valley is indeed valuable. It is located near the City, is well connected in terms of transport and is surrounded by canals and rivers which do indeed attract house buyers. However, it also has to be asked whether the original industrial uses were actually more appropriate for the area. The whole assumption behind the clean up is that this was just a wasteland. Industrial areas are often not pretty but they are still productive. The area could have been cleaned up on a more limited scale and still provided excellent opportunities for new parkland, leisure uses and housing. The Olympics simply takes on the development platform idea of sweeping away existing users and justifying this by marginalising and dismissing their activities.

This attitude required the whole area had to be cleaned up, regardless of existing needs and uses. Savings would have been made on those areas, notably the Eastway Cycle Track which was sited on a large former rubbish tip. I used to live on the same former rubbish tip at Clays Lane and the Manor Gardens Allotments were also situated on this former rubbish tip. I am touched by this concern for former industrial land. Nobody showed any concern for us when we were living there. If it was so dangerous then why was it only cleaned up when it was to be made available for some athletes to play around on for three weeks? Digging up this land created a dust hazard for those living in the vicinity, especially as the area had been used by industries using radioactive materials. This becomes dangerous when ingested but was considered harmless if left alone.

Seb said...

Well, you've certainly convinced me. Let's call the whole thing off.

Oh.

monkeyboy said...

so many words! Not a fan of twitter then?

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