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Truce called over park's conversion for Olympic Games

PUBLISHED: 17:46 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 14:57 25 August 2010

GV Greenwich Park
Picture: Jamie Gray
Mobile:07834 965462
Email: jamie@jamiegray.com

GV Greenwich Park Picture: Jamie Gray Mobile:07834 965462 Email: jamie@jamiegray.com

Jamie Gray

OLYMPIC organisers have released a timetable for plans to transform a Royal Park into a 2012 equestrian venue.

OLYMPIC organisers have released a timetable for plans to transform a Royal Park into a 2012 equestrian venue.

The Olympic Organising Committee (LOCOG) has promised an initial consultation on how Greenwich Park will become an Olympic Games venue by the end of this summer.

The move meets the demands of The Friends of Greenwich Park (FGP) and the Blackheath, Westcombe and Greenwich Societies, which told LOCOG they were being kept in the dark last month.

In a letter sent to each of the groups on June 20, LOCOG said the initial stakeholder and community consultation on the outline design would take place in late summer 2008.

Between late spring and summer 2009, it plans a formal consultation on a detailed plan.

A final draft would then be submitted to Greenwich council late next year.

Ray Smith, spokesman for the Greenwich Society, thinks the release of the timetable was down to the joint societies' letter sent to LOCOG in May.

He said: "We are satisfied, especially in view of the fact that the societies' main gripe so far has been the absence of any detailed information about the proposals."

LOCOG's letter stressed that the British Equestrian Federation judged the park large enough to hold the events and said the park would be returned "in the state in which it was received".

But the committee also said it was "not planning to damage or remove trees that contribute to the heritage and ecological value of the site."

Hosting the equestrian and pentathlon events in the park were an essential deal breaker when London was chosen to host the 2012 Games.

But campaigners including Olympic rider Dane Rawlins have complained that the venue is unsuitable and chosen purely for its historical backdrop.

Michael Goldman, from Greenwich, has set up a Downing Street petition called No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events, which has received 1,241 signatures.

He said: "The decision to hold the equestrian events of the London 2012 Olympics in the Royal Park at Greenwich was made without any public consultation.

"There are many more suitable venues available, especially for cross country, some within easy reach of London."

Jackie Brock-Doyle, LOCOG's public affairs director, said: "The events in 2012 will profile Greenwich to the world, and bring sport to the inner city.

"We look forward to meeting the Friends of Greenwich Park and others over the next few weeks to begin a positive dialogue with them."

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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