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Olympic park deal reached

PUBLISHED: 17:55 30 September 2009 | UPDATED: 17:13 25 August 2010

CAMPAIGN groups have won key concessions from Olympic bosses over controversial plans to host 2012 equestrian events in one of the capital s most popular parks. Friends of Greenwich Park and three other groups have secured a reduction in the park s closu

CAMPAIGN groups have won key concessions from Olympic bosses over controversial plans to host 2012 equestrian events in one of the capital's most popular parks.

Friends of Greenwich Park and three other groups have secured a reduction in the park's closure for the Games to four weeks, agreed by the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) at a meeting last Wednesday at Blackheath Halls.

The original closure was for up to two months and LOCOG gave assurances that the park would be handed back after the games in the same condition as it found it.

Clive Corlett, Olympic sub-committee member of Friends of Greenwich Park, welcomed the measures and said: "We are pleased with the reduction to four weeks and that the children's playground and flower garden will stay open, apart from the day of the cross country event.

"There are to be no road closures which was a big concern for us.

"No trees are to be cut down and none of the park will be dug up.

"The use of the Circus Field in Blackheath as an operational compound will reduce heavy traffic into the park."

He said they would be looking closely at the design of the cross country course and 23,000-seat arena, for which there only exist outline plans at present.

Mr Corlett added: "LOCOG have committed to putting the park back in the shape that they received it. They will put right any damage."

Organisers have also moved the 2011 test event, required under Olympic rules, from August to early July to avoid disrupting school summer holidays with a part closure of the park.

Members of Greenwich and Blackheath societies, Westcombe Park Society and Friends of Greenwich Park have dissenting opinions about using the park for the 2012 Games but all have its long-term future at heart.

Organisers are set to submit plans to Greenwich council in December 2009.

LOCOG chief executive Paul Deighton said: "We believe that Greenwich Park will be a stunning venue in 2012 but we understand the concerns that residents may have about usage of the park during the games.

"We are grateful to the Greenwich societies for organising the meeting and giving us a chance to listen to their concerns and explain our plans in more detail.

"We want to make the games a fantastic experience for everyone.

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