Should Greenwich Park keep its new water feature?

I think I’ve overdosed on the Paralympics. I went to the opening ceremony, I saw Oscar Pistorius beaten, and Ellie Simmonds win her second gold. I was there when Team GB got its first gold in the velodrome, and been wowed by judo, sitting volleyball and powerlifting. I’ve seen wheelchair basketball in the North Greenwich Arena, and yesterday I got sunburnt at the Royal Artillery Barracks taking in the archery. More about that later in the week, hopefully.

And on Saturday, I went to see the dressage in Greenwich Park. Tuesday’s the final day of competition, and if you haven’t seen the park as a London 2012 venue yet, then this advice from Kate might be useful. Bear in mind I’ve not been able to verify it, but I’ve heard about tickets being available on the gate from elsewhere too…

Was told at the Paralympic equestrian dressage at Greenwich Park today that tickets are most probably available from 1 hour before the sessions, from the box offices. They only know how many on the day itself.

They are not being pre-sold online as Greenwich Council has apparently put a block on the no of tickets sold, as believe with schools going back, that local transport would not be able to cope. That was the reason given to me by an official at ticketing at the venue today.

Hope this is useful info for anyone wanting to go.

It’s fair to say this summer has had a lasting effect on many of us, although hopefully its impact on Greenwich Park will be minimal. But there’s one thing that intrigues me.

If you’ve been, and walked down from Blackheath, you may have seen this water feature that’s gone in below the Observatory. I imagine it was a water jump on the cross-country, and it’s stayed in place while most of the others have been removed.

The funny thing is – it looks like it’s been there for years. There’s been a few “hold on, that wasn’t there before” reactions to it. So, I wonder – should it stay there? Would having a small, shallow, water feature be a benefit to the park?

Then again, it’s also in the park’s best spot for sledging when it snows, so probably not. That said, it’s interesting that one small change to the park can make you think of it in a different way. I know that one of the equestrian jumps is staying (which one is it?), but are there any changes to Greenwich from the summer of 2012 – aside from an upsurge in local pride – that we really should be keeping?


  1. I think it and at least one jump should stay. Also where are our big Olympic Rings – most venues seem to have them and we dont seem to have any in the park. The venue is amazing both in person (was there on Monday for Paralympic Dressage) and on screen. It’s been inconvenient not having the park, but well worth the benefits of being part of an amazing 2012

  2. YES it should stay so that in years to come when tourists and kids ask why it’s there local people can relive the pride with which Greenwich Park was the top host venue of London 2012

  3. I like the idea of keeping one jump – or at least one ‘memento’ of the games – It’s a bit embarassing to admit now I didn’t want the games, but they have come and I loved them. It was, as the ay-sayers promised, and the nay-sayers didn’t believe, something really special. A more permanent reminder would be lovely . BTW I didn’t get to see what looks like a flock of giant sheep over at the kiddies’ playground – is that permanent too?

  4. I’d like to see it stay for a bit of legacy. I’d also keep the new steps from Greenwich Station into Straightsmouth.

    We did have the big floating Olympic Rings on the river by the Naval College


  5. The olympic rings went away when the paralympics started and have been replaced by the agitos – which look a bit like 3 Nike symbols to me.

  6. No. Keep a jump by all means. One that’s fun to climb on, fall off etc.

    But nothing must get in the way of the sledging area. It was a good enough sledging/rolling area for Good Queen Bess so it’s good enough for modern day people with bits of cardboard!

    Some people never give up, do they Richard!!

  7. Sorry to try for a second improvement to keep but I’d like to hold on to the wider pavements in Greenwich Town Centre.

    Do we really need 3 lanes of traffic (which then filters down as soon as the traffic heads out of town) whilst the pavements are packed with people.

    Come on Greenwich council.

  8. Hello,

    I was really concerned to hear that staff at the venue said Greenwich Council had put a block on the number of tickets sold for the events. I wasn’t lucky enough to go to paralympic events at Greenwich park but I’m told some seats were empty. I’ve made enquiries and am assured by Council officers that the Council did not in any way shape or form put a block, or asked for a block, on the number of tickets sold. While I don’t doubt that Kate was told that by staff, I hope that she and others are reassured by the fact that any ticketing issues aren’t due to the Council. If anyone else is told this by staff at the venue please let me know at

    I hope that people enjoy the last few days of Paralympic fun. I’ve been totally mesmerised by it all. I don’t want it to end.

    As for the water feature, I love it and hope it stays but that’s just my personal opinion.

  9. Dear Hayley,

    I would have thought that attendance numbers would have been subject to licensing controls and as such come under that council’s auspices.

    Clearly the demand for tickets to the paralympics took everyone by surprise. That said crowds were in the region of 9,000 for each session meaning 18,000 people were moving in opposing directions in Greenwich town centre and using the station. This is very close to the number attending during the Olympics (excluding the X-Country day).

    Bottom line, Greenwich has done the world proud over the last few weeks, much to tell the kids/grandkids, lets not demean it all with a he says/she says situation.


  10. Darren,

    Good point re licensing and I can look into that. I just wanted to share the information I have been given.

    You’re quite right that who said what/when is not relevant when you see how amazing the Olympics and Paralympics have been for both Woolwich and Greenwich. I’ve never been prouder of the area I live in. I still can’t get over the fact that Olympic/Paralympic venues are in the areas I grew up in. Something i don’t think any of us will forget.

  11. TGP, Well done for having the courage to admit that. Although, your pessimism was nowhere near as bad as certain others!

    Some of the doomsday scenarios being touted by NOGOE and their ilk were beyond ridiculous (“perpetual gridlock”, “public transport won’t be able to cope”, “the crowds will make Greenwich unbearable”, “massive disruption to local residents and businesses”, “companies won’t be able to deliver/receive goods and will go bankrupt” etc.) and *inevitably* proven completely wrong. Their silence nowadays is most amusing.

    If these…ahem, ‘individuals’ had won the argument, we would have all missed out on this gloriously uplifting once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  12. I’m in two minds about the water feature: it would be great to keep it as a permanent reminder of Our Glorious Olympics and I’m sure the dogs love it, but I wouldn’t want to ruin the sledging. Perhaps a cover could be designed to be installed on snow days? LOCOG could pay for said cover from the money saved from not having to remove the trough, and then the RPA could plonk it in place whenever it snows to enable the sledging to take place.

    On the empty seats in the stands – my wife and kids went to watch the dressage yesterday and they had a great time. But keeping small children sitting still watching horse dancing isn’t easy, so they spent as much time out of their seats, wandering around both inside and outide the stadium, as they did sitting down. The much larger percentage of families with children attending the Paralympics than the Olympics (partly because the tickets for children are only £5) might explain the empty seats.
    On Darren’s two “keepers” and the Norman Rd traffic:

    I agree on the steps up to the station from Straightsmouth, but it would be even better if Network Rail did the obvious thing and opened up an arched entrance to the underpass under the platforms by the station. Commuters into town would then be saved the long walk all the way to the far end of the platform, which is a real bore – especially when you can see your train pulling in but know it’s too far to the western underpass to catch it.

    STRONGLY agree on the wider pavements in College Approach. The Greenwich Society has been arguing and lobbying for this since the Council proposed the hare-brained pedestrianisation/gyratory system in early-2011. See for a description and some nice sketches by Peter Kent to illustrate the proposals.

    Doing this would not only improve College Approach and King William’s Walk considerably, but also prevent any need to revisit the moronic one-way gyratory proposals – which we’ve seen generated traffic gridlock on Norman and Creek Rds.

    Needless to say, the Council have completely ignored the proposals so far. The Greenwich Society is now pushing again, on the basis of how much the Olympics-period widening of the pavement improved that route. If you support the proposals, let your local councillors know!

  13. I’d like see the traffic light phasing at Kidbrook kept as per the Olympic period. It’s been fantastic down here close to the mouth of the Blackwall Tunnel – the air feels/tastes cleaner. Yes I know the traffic is pushed further down the A2, but the re-phasing has shown what can be achieved in traffic hotspots like the area around the Woolwich Road flyover. Perhaps staggered re-phasing during busy periods?

  14. The traffic light phasing at Kidbrooke is a real pain in the arse. All it does is stop traffic — niothing subtle about that.

    I’m alright. If arriving from the south I just use the back streets, increasing the chances of running someone over and using roads I wouldn’t otherwise.

    To take the logic of stopping the traffic at Kidbrooke a little further, why not brick up the Blackwall Tunnel? The citizens of Kent could bugger off somewhere else then! The tunnel does nothing for our local economy but bring pollution and traffic jams.

  15. What on earth are we going to do when the Olympic caravan moves on next week. There is no doubt that the event was a major success for London. Will now be down to Rio to rise to the challenge next time. The Paralymic stars are now household names which will,hopefully,move disability sports legacy to centre stage. The announcement this week of an annual Paralympic event in the Olympic Park is great news. The Olympic/Paralympic event will live in all our memories for years to come.

    The disruption was limited. Those who thought that Greenwich Park was an extension of their back garden have been proved wrong. Traffic and Parking restrictions worked well in Greenwich Town Centre. Can we ignore the long term traffic issues in Greenwich Town Centre,I think not. Legacy is in place across the Borough. Did we get everything right. Of course not. But we all rose to the challenge and the greatest show on earth will benefit the Borough longer term. The eyes of the world have seen how we can showcase our Borough and we should all be proud that we played a small part in making the event such a success.

  16. @John Fahy: sorry, I just read your post and thought ‘what a load of bull’. “Legacy in place across the boruoug”?!, “Greatest show… will benefit longer term”?! Definitely not an ordinary member of the public. A quick google confirmed that.

  17. Councillor Fahy’s as welcome to comment here as anyone else is. Unless you’d prefer him to be like the vast majority of his colleagues, who don’t engage and simply follow orders to keep quiet – because that does Greenwich a lot of good, doesn’t it?

    As for bricking up the Blackwall Tunnel – just brick up the A2 at Kidbrooke instead 🙂

  18. @Franklin

    “Doing this would not only improve College Approach and King William’s Walk considerably, but also prevent any need to revisit the moronic one-way gyratory proposals – which we’ve seen generated traffic gridlock on Norman and Creek Rds.”

    The “gridlock” (really only a 100m tailback at most) was down to the increased number of stoppages at the Creek Road/College Approach junction at a ‘Lollipop’ pedestrian crossing. When stoppages were less frequent, the traffic flowed far more freely.

    And don’t forget that when we return to the old system, the traffic lights there will be reactivated!

  19. NLE –

    The traffic lights system would also apply to the one-way gyratory system – so it would be exactly the same as during the Olympics, only instead of a lollipop lady holding up the traffic it would be a traffic light.

    The Greenwich Society proposals are aimed at improving the environment in the town centre, particularly for pedestrians on College Approach and King William Walk, without having to introduce the one-way gyratory which would lead to traffic holdups (as we’ve experienced), create major problems for buses, mean longer local car journeys and divert rat-running traffic into local residential roads. All for relatively little cost or time required to implement the changes.

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