Former Sports Minister calls for venues to be moved
JULY 8 - FORMER Sports Minister Kate Hoey, who is now the London Commissioner for Sport, has called for two of the controversial Olympic venues to be moved, including the equestrian at Greenwich Park.
Speaking at a debate on the Olympics organised by the Evening Standard, the Labour MP, who opposed the London 2012 bid, said that shooting at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich should be moved to the national centre in Bisley, Surrey, and that the equestrian events be moved out of Greenwich Park to Hickstead.
Members of the audience raised concerns that Greenwich Park would be off limits for a year due to the Games and said there had been "no public consultation".
A group, who are called NOGOE (No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events) is an informal pressure group have been formed with the sole purpose of opposing the location of the 2012 London Olympic equestrian events in Royal Greenwich Park.
Meanwhile, the choice of the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich has been opposed by every shooting organisation in the UK because it will be demolished after the Games, leaving no legacy for the sport.
Hoey said: "Legacy is about what is happening at grassroots level and there has to be a budget for ordinary kids in London.
"We haven't got that and we should be honest about the fact we have spent so much time worrying about making sure the Games work and facilities are built.
"There is excitement about the Olympics but it will only be truly good for London if it leaves a real sporting legacy for every Londoner.
"I don't think we are going to see the funding or the commitment at a national level - there is no joined-up thinking.
"We really do need in London a programme that increases participation.
"It will be a wonderful show for everyone but it is not good enough just to have a legacy for the Olympic Park and some regeneration aspects.
"Every Londoner in four years' time must feel they have seen some improvement in their area.
"They will live with the increased cost if they see a tangible sporting legacy.
"We are still to create that long term sport legacy but we do not have very long.
"If anything we have left it rather late in starting.
"The Olympics cost a huge amount of money.
"I am not griping about the cost.
"It is about what is happening at grass roots.
"There has to be a financial budget for some legacy projects and if we have not got that we have to be honest about it."
Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell promised that the Games will leave a lasting benefit for Londoners and, indeed, the whole country.
She said: "Seventy-five pence of every pound we are spending will go on long-term regeneration.
"The Games won't just be good for London, they will be good for the whole of the UK and when they come they will be just great.
"We can be confident that when the end comes the whole city will be galvanised and there will be cheap travel for people wanting to travel from anywhere in London."
Video: watch highlights from the debate here