The Westcombe Society does not object to the above application but wishes to offer the following comments:
Access to and through the Park is of prime concern to our members and the wider Westcombe Park community. This is particularly important for Westcombe Park and Blackheath residents for whom Greenwich Park is the main pedestrian/cycle route to and from Greenwich town centre. Although LOCOG has produced a thorough dossier of detailed technical material in support of the application, it is not easy to find the relevant information on public access during the Test Event programme and the preparatory and decommissioning phases. Residents should not have to rely on the plans produced for the planning application for that information.
Accordingly, the Society recommends that LOCOG should be required to produce a concise user-friendly public information document, including readily comprehensible illustrative maps, showing accurately and clearly which paths will be open and which will be closed for both pedestrians and cyclists, together with the dates of closure. This information should be prominently displayed well in advance on Park notice boards and the Greenwich Council and LOCOG websites, and in the local media. It should also be circulated in good time to all households in the surrounding area.
The Society requests confirmation that the area set aside for London Eventing will not restrict access for cyclists and pedestrians along Cross Avenue during Test Event Phases 2 and 3 (shown on Test Event Phasing plans 2 and 3).
The Society is concerned at the apparent loss of a through route for cyclists from Vanbrugh Park Gate to Blackheath Avenue during phase 4. It is not clear from the Test Event Phasing plan 4 whether Bower Avenue will remain open during this period. The Society requests confirmation that access for cyclists from Vanbrugh Park Gate to Blackheath Avenue via Bower Avenue (shown as a cycle route on the Royal Parks map of cycle routes in the Park) will remain open and that Bower Avenue will continue as a cycle path in the future. This should be a key condition of any approval.
Shared use of the path in front of the Queens House (from Park Row Gate to St Mary’s Gate) during phase 2 is shown in the application. This will be a crucial East/West link during all phases of the Test Event and its shared use for pedestrians and cyclists until final reopening of the whole Park should also be a key condition.
Although the plans indicate that most pedestrian and cycle paths will remain open, apart from Test Event Phasing plan 4, it is not clear from the application documents whether, and if so when, the (Blackheath Avenue/The Avenue) road through the park will be closed. The Society understands that the road will be open to through traffic for motor vehicles at normal times except between 1 and 11 July (when it will be closed to through motor traffic to protect competing horses ) but that it will remain open to cyclists and pedestrians throughout the whole Test Event period. LOCOG should be requested to confirm whether that understanding is correct and to ensure that the information will be made clear to the public as recommended above.
LOCOG should also be required to analyse the overall impact on traffic of the road closure and to publish the resultant data for consideration in the relevant planning application for the 2012 Greenwich Park Olympic events.
2.7. The Society notes that large construction and delivery vehicles will be required to use St Mary’s Gate for access to the Test Event site. To reduce the risk of significant traffic congestion in Nevada Street and King William Walk, which might have an adverse knock-on effect on traffic in Greenwich Town Centre, LOCOG should be required to seek and produce assurances that construction work on the extension to the National Maritime Museum (NMM) will be completed well before the set up period for the Test Event. Consideration should also be given to contingency plans in case the NMM work over-runs its scheduled completion date.
LOCOG should also be required to produce a comprehensive description of action to be taken to minimize the environmental and social impact on the wider local area, including Westcombe Park, of freight vehicle traffic generated by both the construction and decommissioning phases of the Test Event.
3.10 Although the Society is pleased to see that signage is planned to encourage use of bicycles by visitors to the events, no mention of cycle parking appears to be made in the application. The Society believes that the provision of adequate cycle parking facilities is essential and should be a key condition of any approval.
3.16 Venue Security. The Society is unable to find any indication in the planning documents of where the boundaries of the three security zones will be. LOCOG should be required to ensure that these are clearly defined and published.
The Society is not qualified to assess the technical merits of the Environmental and Ecological Management Plans accompanying the application and cannot therefore judge whether the estimate that 219 trees will require pruning is accurate or reasonable. In view of the considerable public concern raised on this issue, however, the Society recommends that LOCOG should be asked to re-assess the tree management needs, in consultation with the Royal Parks Agency, and set out clearly in layman's terms the scale and extent of all tree works that will be required, over and above the Park’s normal routine tree maintenance requirements for 2011 and 2012.
The application makes little mention of disabled access. As a key condition of any approval LOCOG should be required to publish, following consultation with the relevant local organisations for the disabled, clear plans for disabled access to all the Test Events, including the location of disabled parking and drop-off points
Index and Glossary
The planning documents would have been greatly improved by an Index and Glossary. These should be included with future applications.
Chairman of the Westcombe Society