Olympic Closures

And so it begins. I took one last stroll around the park on Sunday before much of it closed for a couple of months. The place was packed – it will be sorely missed – and though LOCOG are at pains to demonstrate that some of it remains open (a concession I’m pretty sure was only contrived because of opposition – just because protesters failed to stop the Olympics happening at all doesn’t mean that they didn’t force concessions and yes, I do believe that trees, soil and ruins have been saved – without any opposition I doubt organisers would have cared a fig) it’s the northern, most used, end that will be closed.

As you can see from Stephen’s photos, it’s an odd sight – a sunny day and a totally empty park. I’m not sure I agree with LOCOG’S assertion that “It will have little impact on visitors to the Park who will still be able to access all areas freely, except for a narrow strip of ground in certain places.”

I didn’t realise just how few tickets there are for the test events for ordinary Greenwich folk – I read 1000, which given that most people will be applying for at least 2, pretty much means there are 500 pairs available. I guess the rest go to VIPs, Olympics officials, young people and horse-community folk.

This means I now have serious doubts I’ll get a ticket unless I don a pair of short trousers and enrol myself in school pronto, so I may be calling on anyone who does get a ticket to keep us informed. I am really curious to know how this is going to impact on the park when it’s up to full strength.

Of course some of it remains open throughout – I’m sure these people are enjoying the wide open views as they run:

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29 Comments to “Olympic Closures”

  1. Mat Gough says:

    I run round the inner perimeter of the park 4 or 5 times a week, and have been watching the fences go up. I’m suprised and pleased at how little has actually been fenced off – its only the large flat field between the queen’s house and the observatory and the large walkway running from the main Greenwich gates up to the observatory.

    The vast southern fields behind the observatory are untouched (though it means a walk up the steep hill for Greenwich residents) as is the area by the children’s play ground in the north east corner.

    Provided they don’t extend the site this summer I think the impact on park users will be minimal. As I said, I’m suprised and pleased that the determination of local residents groups has made the organisers behave at least a bit responsibly, though we shall see how well they manage the clean up job after the event….

  2. Jeb says:

    I don’t have the map to hand, but I think I’m right in saying that from June to the end of the test event most of the eastern side of the park(with the exception of the flower garden) will be closed off, certainly the short walking route to Greenwich from Westcombe Park will be closed.

    I’m interested to see how much disruption is caused by the test event, as it will obviously be much more next year. Incidently I have applied for the cross country this year on the grounds that I might as well get something positive for all the disruption – sounds like I’ll have to be very lucky to get a ticket, though.

  3. Brian Davies says:

    I’m saddened by the local response to this wonderful opportunity.

    I live 5 minutes from the park and my family often walk in it.

    Only in England would you have people complaining about hosting an Olympic event, rather than showing pride in being part of this world event.

    It makes me ashamed to say I live in Greenwich and to be associated with this nimby attitude.

    Olympics in Greenwich – Bravo!

  4. scared of chives says:

    Will someone please explain why, if you don’t like the Olympics, you’re a nimby – or why I ‘should be delighted with having it in Greenwich’?

    I love football – and a particular team – but I don’t expect others to be – and question their disinterest.

    I’m frankly ******-off with parts of the park closing.

  5. TBH I don’t really care about the park being closed off for a short amount of time. My only care really is for the long term welfare of the park – both the seen and unseen parts of it.

  6. scared of chives says:

    As you know TGP, I’m with you on that one too…ie welfare of the park

  7. Of course I do, SoC. Of course I’m assuming you make a wide berth around the herb garden anyway though…

  8. …or maybe you’re behind the recent makeover of the herb garden. Is it now a chive-free zone?

  9. scared of chives says:

    um…I would check but I can’t bring myself to (also there’s a big fence in the way)

  10. David says:

    I’m with Brian and TGP on this one – excited that the Olympics is coming to Greenwich, disappointed that so many of the local population choose to be so selfish in only seeing the negatives for them, but a bit concerned about the long run impact on the park.

    I’m also concerned that the more people grumble noisily about the event actually happening, the more the key message of “Look after our park!” gets drowned out. Support the event and focus on what can still be changed.

  11. Richard says:

    I object to the state using billions of pounds of our money to subsidise minority sports for rich people.

  12. Robert Number 16 says:

    I have over the last year been making a short for the BBC “2012 Lives”I have heard many local peoples views for and against.I understand from the bbeb that there will a bit of a push on filming during the “test event” Please do e mail me on nmmanagement@hotmail.com If you have any current concerns (for or against) about the the Olympics in Greenwich.Lastly I am pleased to announce on The Greenwich Phantom that I am going to launch ( in a very small way, on the internet ) my very own Chat Show ” Robert`s Full English Breakfast Show” Filmed in my kitchen as I do everyday. I `m trying to work out how we can get to The Phantom on the show without spilling the the beans. Any ideas from you all very welcome.

  13. Ebspig says:

    No, not against the Olympics, or individual sports, but against the damage to such a fragile and unique site. You can’t repair damaged archaeology or replant 300/400 year old trees. Not that we won’t do our best to be welcoming to the visitors who won’t know what’s been lost.

  14. 58frankh says:

    Stop complaining, I’m sure I recall Mr Rainsford boasting about the equestrian heritage that will result from having the Olimpics in the park. Off to Savile Row next week for a final fitting of my hunting jacket. Anyone know where I can kennel my pack of hounds?

  15. PiratesPatch says:

    A minority sport for rich people!

    Really….obviously you have never been to an Olympics!

    Maybe the Paralympics are minority sports for those undeserving because they have a disibilty!

    Maybe some of that state money can be used to send people like you to another country and stop bringing the rest of us down…well, to your level at least!

  16. Anto says:

    Maybe its because I have an instinctive mistrust of abstract speech – (‘showing pride’, I didn’t design the park or build the queen’s house – I live in Greenwich because I like it, what’s pride got to do with it?). But there’s a repetitive quality to some pro olympics comments that sounds like astroturfing even though it may not be.

  17. Anto says:

    Ah and ‘only in britain’ – I lived in another city that made an Olympic bid and there was just as much opposition, for identical reasons. If you only want to hear cheering, move to china. Peope here are free to disagree. Now that’s something to be proud of.

  18. Richard says:

    Rowing, horse riding, archery, yachting. All minority sports that only people from rich countries can compete in due to the costs of the equipment. Infact you could probably add swimming to that list. The fact that athletes who have failed in other sports (more mainstream ones like football) and have now retrained for other less popular sports and made the GB team says it all.

    Provincial cities like Salt Lake, Barcelona and Sydney used the Olympics to boost their global standing. I am pretty sure London does not require this.

  19. Robert Number 16 says:

    Just taken some Americans around Greenwich on the “London Greeters” scheme. Greenwich Park was very busy as a large section has been cordoned off. Many people were walking up the main road then several people hurtled down the hill on skateboards or bikes. An accident waiting to happen!!!

  20. PiratesPatch says:


    Very Blinkered and very misinformed!

    Doubt that will change so l hope to avoid you when l enjoy the Olympics next year!

  21. Robert Number 16 says:

    OH “midge” HOW VERY DULL YOU ARE .

  22. Anke says:

    The park looks terrible now. Think how much money is being wasted on all of the equipment there, especially the catering building (inside the ringed off area opposite the new Sammy Ofer wing). All of this is our tax money being wasted on a ego trip for national and local politicians

  23. Richard says:

    PiratesPatch look out for my guerilla advertising when the ponies are trotting around the park.

  24. Michael Kaye says:

    It’s not the Olympics per se, it’s the fact that the the organisers believe they can do what they want because it IS the Olympics (the marathon organisers do the same).

    Charity events/Olympics are great and we are lucky that they taking place in Greenwich, but the organisers need to remember that we live here too. Consideration is all we ask.

  25. PiratesPatch says:


    Hopefully they would have locked you up by then!

  26. wizbowes says:


    Like you I live only 5 minutes from the park and spend time in it frequently. I think the Olympics is a dreadful waste of money – but given that it’s inevitable I’ve applied for tickets and hope to get to see something.

    What cheeses me off if that we lose the park (which is THE main reason I bought a house where I did), and we get nothing in return. No local lottery for free tickets – no preferential treatment for application for tickets. Nothing.

    There’s a high chance that we lose the use of our park, have our lives made a pain in the butt (travel, disruption etc) for the privilege of allowing others to see the Olympics close my house.

    Now why should that make me proud?

  27. tintinhaddock says:

    ‘I’m saddened by the local response to this wonderful opportunity’

    Opportunity? For what or for whom, exactly?

    An opportunity to make a few bob renting out your house for a couple of weeks maybe.

    I do resent the loss of amenity of the park but, more importantly, it seems a shocking waste of £50 million trying to shoehorn an event into a space that is not really fit for purpose – especially as we have existing world-class facillities elsewhere in London.

    And, of course, there is the very real danger posed to trees, acid grassland, horses and even bats.

  28. Paolo says:

    There seems to be an assumption that, just because its the olympics, all Greenwich residents should pretend to have a burning interest in equestrian events (other than those that involve bookies).

    Personally I don’t and feel no need to apologise for my opinion that the entire thing is an utter waste of money, that it will bring no benefit to the area and that it will in fact cause significant, mainly on the transport front

  29. jessica says:

    It seems the number of trees targetted to be lopped is increasing and I’m utterly against the park being disrupted but I am more concerned regarding the amount of traffic that will be coming through Greenwich. Will our emergency services be able to operate as promptly as they do now? We have a number of elderly people living in Greenwich (you only have to count the number of sheltered accommodation sites there are) and ambulances and rapid response cars are familiar vehicles. I wrote to Boris Johnson who ‘assured’ me that our emergency services will run as normal! Bah!!! We will see….