Greenwich Park confirmed as Olympic venue

Remiss of us not to mention this earlier, but following a lengthy public meeting yesterday, plans to use Greenwich Park to host the equestrian events for the London 2012 Olympic games, have been approved by Greenwich Council. It looks as though what we hoped would happen, will.

Blackheath Bugle has a very balanced summary of the issue. Intrepid blogger Adam Bienkov provided the most colourful live commentary via Twitter, including this gem:

@AdamBienkov We're now in the Tudor bricks, Roman graves, horses falling down holes, moonbat section of the presentation.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Be honest, they weren't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Have they got permission to use the Circus area on Blackheath as well for administation?

If not and it's in Lewisham I think the council could hold out for a nice little earner.

Brockley Nick said...

Was that a deliberate pun?

darryl said...

Yep, the Circus Field also got the go-ahead. The Lewisham side of the heath will have a bit of a role to play because bicycle parking will be in Talbot Place.

Anonymous said...

Bravo. A Harvey Smith 2 fingered salute to you all.

Tamsin said...

It is a bit unfortunate that NOGOE got so vehement and that some of them were obviously from another planet - "will nobody think of the Tudor bricks". With the advent of the global recession moving all sorts of goalposts it would have been perfectly reasonable to swap from what was sold in the proposals put to the IOC to one of several other venues a little way out of London already geared to international horse events.

Assurances on clear up and restoration afterwards are not worth a footnote to the pfi contracts they will written in.

I remain sceptical and deeply concerned.

Anonymous said...

Tudor Bricks lovers told to go and chew on a brick!

Pete said...

What's the deal with the tudor bricks then?

Brockley Nick said...

I love this from the NOGOE FAQ section:

"Q What real harm would it do to the Park?

A How long have you got? When the planning applications were made public in mid-December, it was immediately evident that the damage and destruction envisaged by LOCOG is far, far worse than even NOGOE thought it would be."

Erm, so to ask the question again...

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahaha

Nimbys the lot of them! :-)

Anonymous said...

To be fair to them it will make a hell of a mess, but it'll recover in no time and all will be well with the world.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention the enormous plus that having the actual olympic event will bring. Gift horse in the mouth!

darryl said...

Those Tudor bricks in full - some bricks were exposed next to the cafe at the top of the hill which NOGOE claims may be of Tudor origin. Everyone else says the remains are the boundary walls of a 18th century park-keeper's cottage.

Lou Baker said...

It'll bring huge huge benefits to Greenwich - and the surrounding area.

There will be a little short term disruption but one of London's gems is getting showcased on the world stage.

Brilliant news.

PS: Dear Nimbys, pop down to Woolwich - where they're holding the shooting - and stand in the way during practice.

Tamsin said...

@anon 16.52 - It won't recover in no time. Be realistic. It'll be years while different quangoes argue about who is responsible for taking down and disposing of the temporary structures that will be of no possible future use. In most other Olympic ventures there is some permanent legacy. Here, because of the need to restore the status quo, the whole concept was a double waste of money from the outset.

And what benefit to Greenwich? It is full to the gunnells and over-flowing with tourists anyway to the extent that most of the normal shops have closed and there is nowhere to park.

A classic case where two views were so polarised that rational voices went totally unheard.

Anonymous said...

How many people watch Equestrian Events anyway,If Its so popular why not hold them up there all the time.

Tamsin said...

Because it's totally inappropriate - needing acres of parking and blocks of stabling, etc. etc. Also an elitist minority interest that shouldn't occupy an urban public space.

Although I am not quite sure what point you were making.

Pete said...

"Also an elitist minority interest that shouldn't occupy an urban public space."

What utter nonsense. If it is elitist then I'm sure Greenwich is the ideal place to hold it given that is where many of the elite live.

I hadn't realised that this was some sort of class issue. How utterly pathetic.

drakefell debaser said...

Also an elitist minority interest that shouldn't occupy an urban public space.

Tamsin, it wasn't so long ago that you were plugging a local riding school to Headhunter. Yet now you slam equestrian events as elitist?

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin - are you seriously suggesting that an arena will just sit in the park after the games, because know one will agree who should take it down? Disassembly is already planned and budgeted for and the materials that will be used in construction are valuable and therefore have resale value.

The argument over long-term impact is about how long it will take the grass to recover. I don't think even NOGOE imagined that we'd be left with a pile of scaffolding.

Anonymous said...

Tamsin is becoming the new Catman. Increasingly incoherent grumblings...

Tamsin said...

The anonymous I was responding to seemed to be implying (although not very clearly) that keeping the area for equestrian events was a possibility. I think this inappropriate.

Engagement in actual eventing etc. is very expensive and requires dedication - my sister-in-law spends all her disposable income and most of her time maintaining just two bottom to middle rank show-jumpers. A tithe of the money spent on the this one off showcase event in Greenwich could do a massive amount in supporting and subsidising such outlets as New Lodge and Mottingham Farm in bringing riding and horses within reach of many more uban children. They desperately fund-raise but can only do so on a small scale.

OK - a bit extreme. Stuff will be removed but I am not sure how thoroughly and effectively. You say it is budgeted for but that is not to be relied upon - budgets are cut and over-spent. And there is no incentive, apart from stripping out what is of value, to do the job of clear up after the event.

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin - honestly, just let that point go. Removal of the stadium is not going to be an issue and no-one, other than you, has ever suggested otherwise, as far as I am aware?

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin - honestly, just let that point go. Removal of the stadium is not going to be an issue and no-one, other than you, has ever suggested otherwise, as far as I am aware?

Tamsin said...

Yes, I was planning to. That last post was just trying to defend myself from the charge of incoherence and inconsistency.

I'm not in line with all NOGOE were saying, but do not believe as most others seem to that all is going to be wonderful. However it is done and dusted now and there is enough else to fret about.

And more positively - as mooted by others on a thread ages ago - how do we as two or three Wards in the host City link up with a non-European country to semi-officially support. Is this something that can be persued through the Ward Assemblies when they start up again after the elections?

Headhunter said...

I agree with Tamsin. Although it's exciting to have an Olympic event on our doorstep, I am sceptical that there will be no long term damage to the park. And as Tamsin points out, why are we spending bucket loads of money on a temporay facility rather than improving an existing equestrian operation which will then benefit riders after the Olympics? Wasn't Windsor discussed at 1 point?

darryl said...

Tamsin's pretty much spot on regarding the poor quality of the debate - many of us in and Greenwich raise our eyebrows when the anti-brigade stand up and claim to be representing "us", and that anyone who disagrees is somehow stupid (see just about any greenwich.co.uk discussion on the issue).

My own feeling is that there's more worry around here than outright opposition to the games - obviously, though, that can be interpreted either way.

But where I think Tamsin's wrong is to claim it shouldn't happen because it's an elitist sport - that's no better than me campaigning for The Valley to be shut down because football fans are working class oiks.

darryl said...

Headhunter - I can't remember exactly what was said, but LOCOG claimed Windsor had been ruled out because of the type of ground in Windsor Great Park (too much clay, they said).

Anonymous said...

Greenwich park is my favourite park in London. I love it so much. It is beautifully maintained, has great hill for running and the most fantastic views. I think it would be such a shame not to "show it off" as an outstanding part of London. I don't believe there will be long term damage-first of all, it is a royal park in a royal borough. Have you seen how quickly notting hill is cleared after the carnival? I don't know about numbers but I have been to the Cartier polo a few times in Windsor park (will numbers be similar?) and people take cars, have picnics, wear high heels (and clear up their rubbish). I think it must take some weeks/months to "heal" afterward. This will be a short period of time as a one off occasion to show off a great part of South london and bring business to Lewisham and Greenwich.

Pete said...

Just thinking about grass recovery - have any of you ever been to Glastonbury festival?

At the end of the festival there's usually not a blade of grass left. By the following year the grass has totally recovered (only to get squashed again).

Anonymous said...

Mmmm funny that - anyone would think that it grows.

Pete said...

Well quite. So wtf are people worried about the grass for?

Tamsin said...

More self justification - I wasn't saying equestrian events should not happen because it is an elitist minority persuit - wonderful to watch and inspire, and if they have the dedication perfectly ordinary people with ordinary incomes can take part like my sister-in-law. I was taking issue with the Anonymous who seemed to be suggesting that the equestrian set up should be left in the park after the Olympics, which I did not think appropriate - the majority pushed to one side permanently for a minority pursuit.

Grass does grow back, but after a certain amount of damage it only does so with a degree of tlc that it might not get in the aftermath of the huge effort that will go into creating the Olympics. No kudos in the clear-up - those with oomph and energy will be moving on to other things and realistically the clear-up will be left with the likes of Conway (and we know how they manage with just a tiny earth bank outside a station).

drakefell debaser said...

I think the concern over the grass is a bit absurd. Grass is one of the most resilient plants on this planet; you even find it growing in some deserts. I am sure that even if it was left to nature the grass would recover fine.

Also, the park employs groundsmen and is a Royal Park so I am sure we can trust these people to do what is necessary to return the grass to a standard fit for someone to plonk a towel on it and lie in the sunshine.

Pete said...

As Danja just said the work in the park to repair any damage will fall to the Royal Parks who do an excellent job of looking after the parks.

The grass routinely gets damaged in Hyde Park in summer when there are various concerts and they always manage to bring it back to a good standard.

arlie said...

Greenwich Park is a spectacular venue which places equestrian sport right at the heart of the 2012 Olympic Games.The Games will cause traffic congestion and noise/light pollution for residents of the Greenwich Park neighborhood.
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drakefell debaser said...

arlie, you have just described a large part of London in your sales pitch.

Unless of course the houses you have for rent come with its very own butler, who is not only an affable badger, but just happens to have the key for the fine wine collection stored in the cellar.

But that would be silly.

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