POSTED: March 24th 2010

Greenwich Park handed all-clear as equestrian venue for 2012 London Games

Seb Coe: one more hurdle overcome /
Seb Coe: one more hurdle overcome /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON, Mar 24: Equestrian events at the 2012 Olympic Games in London will go ahead, after all, in Greenwich Park despite a vociferous protest campaign from residents and some elements within the sport.

Confirmation of this and other nearby temporary venues for equestrian and modern pentathlon events has come from Greenwich Council’s planning committee. Also being used will be the National Maritime Museum, the Old Royal Naval College and Blackheath Circus Field.

Lord Sebastian Coe, organising chairman, greeted the decision with delight and relief and thanked “all the people who came out to speak for and against this application.”

In a gesture to the No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events (NOGOE) movement he added: “This great park is on loan to the Games and to the people of the world.  We must return it to the residents of Greenwich, to Londoners and visitors from the UK and around the world in the same condition, or better, than it was loaned to us.

"We take this responsibility seriously and will continue to work with the park authorities, resident and park user groups and the people of Greenwich as we develop and implement our plans.”

Park restoration

After the Olympic and Paralympic Games the site will be restored to its former use and condition in accordance with a Site Reinstatement Plan to be agreed by Greenwich Council, in consultation with the Royal Parks and other statutory bodies.

Opponents had claimed that the venue demanded too many compromises of competitors and spectators and thought LOCOG should have used one or more existing established venues from among Windsor, Badminton, Burghley, Blenheim and Stoneleigh as well as five other London options.

They claimed LOCOG was failing to comply with the international equestrian federation’s technical needs.

A statement added: “Facilities for stabling and training are fewer than that set out in the FEI specification. It was initially stated that only one discipline (eventing, showjumping or dressage) would be staged at a time, involving 50-80 horses.

“Scheduling now shows that dressage and showjumping will run concurrently, resulting in up to 130 horses all trying to use the limited supply of training rings for six days.

“It would not be the perfect environment for athletes to compete and the spectator experience would not match up to the expectations at traditional equestrian venues. Getting to Greenwich would be a nightmare.”

Keywords · London 2012 · Olympic Games · FEI · equestrian · Greenwich Park

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