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Royal park WILL stage 2012 equestrian events

PUBLISHED: 15:40 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:46 25 August 2010

OLYMPIC chiefs have decided that the 2012 equestrian events will take place in a Royal Park.

OLYMPIC chiefs have decided that the 2012 equestrian events will take place in a Royal Park.

The Olympic Board agreed that a temporary cross country route will be marked out at Greenwich Park for the London Games, despite claims it will lead to permanent damage.

Dressage and show jumping will be held in front of the Queen's House and the events are expected to draw crowds of 23,000.

Michael Goldman, a Greenwich resident who has campaigned against the event and collected 2,720 signatures on a petition against the use of the park, said: "The choice was made largely because this World Heritage Site would look good on television.

"The fact that it is a World Heritage Site is a compelling reason not to choose it."

Greenwich Park was nominated as an Olympic site when the proposal to host the Games in London was put together in 2003.

London was named the host city for the 2012 Games two years later.

The Friends of Greenwich Park voted overwhelmingly against the cross country location last July, fearing damage to trees, and extensive closures.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) predict the whole park will be closed for around three weeks when the Games are staged, whilst 'at most' some low branches may be removed in consultation with the Royal Park.

A LOCOG spokesperson said: "We had the support of Greenwich council, the government and the sporting organisations.

"There would not have been time to consult on every site and still get the bid in."

The final approval was made last Wednesday following a KPMG audit review of temporary venues, to see how savings could be made by finding alternatives. Basketball will stay at the Olympic Park as planned, however, a decision is still pending for the Woolwich shooting events and the temporary arena on Greenwich Peninsula.

A consultation process is underway for Greenwich residents to scrutinise the borough's Olympic plans.

A public meeting is due to be held at the O2 on Thursday, December 4, between 7 and 9pm.

Speakers will include Sebestian Coe and admission will be by ticket only.

To register for tickets visit www.london2012.com/news/consultations.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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