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Park protection group influence Olympic plans

PUBLISHED: 09:16 17 December 2009 | UPDATED: 17:25 25 August 2010

A RESIDENTS group claim the planning application to stage the Olympics equestrian games in a Royal park show organisers have taken on board their concerns.

A RESIDENTS' group claim the planning application to stage the Olympics' equestrian games in a Royal park show organisers have taken on board their concerns.

Greenwich Society joined forces with the Westcombe Society, Friends of Greenwich Park and the Blackheath Society last year to present a stronger voice to the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG).

Now groups say the details of LOGOC's planning application, which was submitted to Greenwich Council on November 30, has addressed their worries.

The detailed plans propose the 6km cross country course beginning in Spring 2010 and the 23,000-seater temporary arena being installed between April and July 2012.

Some of the park will be closed off then, and most of it from July 6, 2012 to allow cross country jumps to be installed, the plans show.

Spokesperson for the Greenwich Society Ray Smith said: "The application that has been submitted reflects that the four local societies have had a long process of engagement.

"The children's playground and rose garden will stay open. The period the park will be closed has reduced considerably. And the trial event in 2011 is going to be held outside the school holidays.

"As far as Greenwich Society is concerned, we are not opposed to having the Olympics in the park.

"I would say to anyone who is concerned, to look at the facts and the details and make a rational assessment and not be swayed by emotive arguments."

The plans show that pedestrian access to the Royal Observatory will be available until July 23, 2012 and the children's playground and much of the flower garden will remain open expect on cross country day.

From August 3, 2012, much of the park will be re-opened subject to security approvals. But the area around the arena will remain closed for the remainder of the Greenwich park events until September 7, 2012.

The temporary event facilities are due to be removed in November 2012.

Secondary stabling, training ground, storage, offices and a spectator queuing area have been earmarked for Blackheath Circus Field, which is planned to be used as a compound during the set up and removal phases.

A test event planned to take place between July 4 and 10, 2011, involves small areas of the north park being cordoned off for up to five weeks, to allow the arena and stable areas to be constructed. Also a larger area of closure would be required for three weeks around the cross country course.

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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