Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another Marathon Fiasco?

The Westcombe Society has been warned to expect another siege of Westcombe Park on 25th April.

Residents will recall that for the 2008 and 2009 Marathons, the period during which Westcombe Park was cut off from the rest of the world was drastically extended (without any warning), causing great problems for those needing care assistance or with important engagements. Traditionally, at least one crossing point was opened at the Gibb memorial by about 10.30 to allow cars to cross (but not use) the marathon route to enable residents to reach, and be reached by, the rest of London, It was accepted that the marathon route itself would remain closed far longer, but at least people could reach other roads.

There was nothing in the (sketchy) information for the 2009 Marathon to suggest things had changed. Full details of road closures were not given in Greenwich Time, on the Council or Marathon websites or in the glossy brochure distributed to residents outside Westcombe Park. The latter stated that 'The ‘total closure’ will remain in force until the rear Marathon vehicle passes or when directed by Police, whereby drivers will be permitted to cross the route only'. The vehicle passed at the usual time; but drivers had to wait several more hours longer to get out.

Following complaints after the 2008 half marathon, the Council had arranged that “For any future major event, a co-ordinating board will be chaired by the Director of Community Safety and comprise the event organiser, relevant Council services, including traffic management, licensing, Cleansweep/waste management, communications unit, as well as the Police and other emergency services.”

New Arrangements came into force for the half marathon last September, allowing access/egress to and from the A102. These arrangements seemed to have worked well. But they will not be repeated for the 2010 marathon. So the arrangements set out in will not apply Buses will not serve Westcombe Park until later in the afternoon. Disabled people hoping to use trains will find that roads from Westcombe Park Road to the stations will also be closed to vehicular traffic (though this may not be publicised in advance)

It seems Westcombe Park may be under total siege again until as late as 14.00. Perhaps this will be raised at the Hustings being organised by the Westcombe Society at 19.30 on 17th April at Mycenae House, where residents will be able to question ward candidates about their policies

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