Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Postcard from Greenwich Park

When I was at school in Greenwich, we spent an occasional cold, damp, muddy sports lesson cross-country running in Greenwich Park. I was usually the one walking at the back. Hideous though that experience was, it was a chance to admire the Park and I often return now (without the trainers!).

The residents of Greenwich are lucky to have this beautiful, varied, historic open space on their doorstep and the huge numbers of tourists who join them to walk, run, play and picnic there just back up the value of the Park for the local area. Can it really be a sensible location to consider for the 2012 Olympic Equestrian events?

The Park would be closed to the public for months in the lead up to and during the games. There is the potential that the historical and ecological character of the Park could be damaged by the construction of the facilities required. I think Greenwich Park is too important to take the risk. This photo is taken from a point just to the side of the Prime Meridian line that dissects the world through the highest point of Greenwich Park. It's a view tourists cross the world to visit.

As Kerry, the main character in my novel 'Map Reading' (see 'Postcard from the internet' below) puts it: ' It's the start of time, that's all. East and West, it all starts here.'

A couple of weeks of Olympics events and it might never be the same again. For more information see http://www.nogoe2012.com/


PLJAIKJ said...

By not endorsing the chice of Greenwich Park as yet, the London Olympics Board are applying common sense to the misguided decision to hold this event in a World Heritage Site without proper assessments. The original decision was taken without any cost benefit analysis of the Park or other venues. It was based on proximity to the Olympic village, the desire to promote urban riding, the need for a temporary venue, and an iconic location for the sponsors.

The course for the bid was drawn to the wrong scale; the revised cross country plan will be very tight for horse and spectator movements. More importantly it is difficult to see how some trees will not have to be cut down or moved; and it will be damaging to the grass and the whole ecology and archaeology of the Park. Concerns have been expressed by David Starkey and Simon Jenkins, among others. Yet LOCOG (the organisers) have not yet produced an Environmental Impact Assessment although it is three years since winning the bid. They say that no damage was done in the Hong Kong course but the comparisons with Greenwich Park are incongruous and misleading. Neither are their statements about closures reassuring. In a letter LOCOG stated that talk of closures for months was inaccurate; now their latest presentation confirms that the 23000-seater arena will be constructed from April 2012, which means 7 months closure of the most popular part of the Park, depriving ordinary people access to the part that is close to the town and public transport.

It is better for the decision makers to lose face now than go down in history as the people who trashed Greenwich Park.

Lauri Shaw said...

Your blog is quite pleasing to the eye. I like it.

Lauri Shaw

Geraldo Maia said...

Hello Katharine,
Beautiful Postcards! In Brazil of course is now the spring season.
Wishing to you a nice weekend.