Venue’s £20m Olympics facelift

PUBLISHED: 17:12 18 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:19 25 August 2010

AMBITIOUS £20million plans to improve facilities at a shooting club are to be submitted in a bid to bring the 2012 Olympics to nearby Dartford.

AMBITIOUS £20million plans to improve facilities at a shooting club are to be submitted in a bid to bring the 2012 Olympics to nearby Dartford.

On Tuesday Peter Duffield, owner of Dartford Clay Shooting Club, revealed the bold move as he challenges LOCOG (London Organising Olympic Committee of the Olympic Games) to ditch plans for the events at Woolwich.

Mr Duffield hopes to ensure that an alternative venue closer to the Olympic Village is on offer claiming the current site will not leave a 'lasting legacy'.

Shooting events for 2012 are expected to take place at a £25 million facility on a temporary site at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Woowich.

If agreed by Dartford Council, the plans would mean world class shooting events could be held in Britain for the first time, with the club able to boast an International Shooting standard at Joyce Green Lane, Dartford.

Owner Peter Duffield said: "I am looking to develop an ideal venue for both my sport of shooting but also for the wider community.

"I want to ensure that the Dartford Marshes remain an integral part of the Thames Gateway, and this is an excellent way of using the land."

In January last year Mr Duffield told the Times he was shocked his site had been rejected after Olympic bosses said they were impressed by his plan during a site visit.

Despite the setback he is pursuing plans, supported by an Environmental Impact Assessment, and will submit them to Dartford Borough Council within the next few weeks.

Included will be the option to provide temporary seating galleries and other facilities suitable to host the 2012 Olympic Shooting competition. About 10 per cent of the land will need redeveloping to feature a variety of new shooting ranges and a multi-purpose community and sporting facility. Other plans include improving public access to allow visitors to enjoy marsh walks.

Chairman of British Shooting Phil Boakes, from Sevenoaks, said: "The UK has long produced some of the finest shots in the world but we do not currently have a venue capable of attracting a full Shooting World Cup and other international competitions. This is why I am so determined that the Olympics will leave a legacy for the sport.

"We fully support the plans at Dartford and I personally will be giving them all the assistance I can.

"British Shooting currently favours a switch of Olympic venue away from Woolwich.

He added: "Whatever happens, Woolwich is very wrong and leaves no legacy for the sport."

Olympic boss Lord Coe has always defended the Woolwich option, saying: "I'm determined to leave a legacy in every sport.

"An important part of that is not simply bricks and mortar, it's about being able to say that more people got engaged in sport. Sometimes governing bodies of sports overlook that.

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