The organisers of the 2012 Olympics are to hold an exhibition later this month as they step up their campaign to get the public behind equestrian events in Greenwich Park.
LOCOG will take over a shop in College Approach, Greenwich, from 21-25 and 28-31 October to show off their vision for Greenwich Park during summer 2012.
It has also launched a new website and homes across Greenwich borough, and parts of Lewisham, are being sent information about the Games from LOCOG.
Greenwich Park will be closed for four weeks in 2012 to accommodate the events, although the site of the equestrian stadium – at the north end of the park – will be closed off for several months. In addition, a “test event” will be held in summer 2011.
LOCOG’s consultation comes ahead of its formal planning application to Greenwich Council, which is due to be submitted at the end of November. It also follows pressure group NOGOE‘s “ring around the park” event on Sunday, which attracted up to 300 people to a protest at the site of the planned equestrian stadium. NOGOE claims the park will be damaged by holding the events, a charge vigorously denied by LOCOG.
Let battle commence? It’s been interesting reading the comments on the Greenwich Phantom’s site, where there’s a slim majority against the events, and on Brockley Central, which has taken a cheerful “if Greenwich doesn’t want it, we’ll have it”, attitude. I was in the park on Sunday during the demonstration and saw little sign of it – the petition table aside – apart from a Barbour-clad woman, who’d just emerged from a house in one of west Greenwich’s poshest streets, telling the group I was with we should all go and “save the park”. We declined. “Think of the people in high-rise flats!”, she said.
I’ve been pretty critical on this site of LOCOG’s relative invisibility – a charge its staff reject, incidentally, pointing out that they’ve done a lot of work in their own time to try to convince Greenwich (and Woolwich) people of the benefits of the games. The planning application means that it would have to step up its consultation work, but having a shop in central Greenwich is an excellent idea. It’s just a shame that it is only a temporary exhibition, for funding for something permanent could help boost the image of 2012 in general. However, “Olympics” and “budget” combine to make a phrase which gives politicians many sleepless nights right now… I still, however, think that LOCOG should be having regular public meetings to keep us informed.
I think LOCOG also need to be aware that their “Olympic borough” colleagues in Greenwich Council undermine their efforts every time they up their own propaganda – their Greenwich Time special was every bit as misleading as some of NOGOE’s supporters’ shrill, hysterical attacks on the games. It could be argued pressure from NOGOE has forced some concessions on the course and park closures – but the public conduct of some of its activists damages its name.
Let LOCOG present its case to the people, and let the people decide. And tell ’em what you think.