Prestige Tickets sold hospitality packages for a venue which didn’t exist – and they didn’t have planning permission to build it either

Prestige Tickets Ltd has been selling hospitality packages to the equestrian events in Greenwich Park and their specially designed restaurant without having planning permission to build the structure.

Owned by former England rugby player turned sports agent, Mike Burton, and a French company, Soxedo, Prestige Tickets Ltd is the official supplier of  “world-class hospitality packages” for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Their plan is to build a restaurant seating 500 people in Greenwich Park, consisting of two connected by a glass bridge under which competitors will ride.

On March 29th 2010 the Council granted full planning permission for temporary use of the site for the hosting of the equestrian and modern pentathlon events, including the test events in 2011.

In an email Janice Goldsmith, Assistant Policy Officer at Greenwich Council, said: “The temporary structures include a 23,000 seat arena, training areas, stabling, a cross county course, operational site set up and removal compounds, vehicular and pedestrian access areas, operational parking and ancillary structures. Concessions areas and structures were also included.”

However, this response did not give any information regarding the building for the restaurant, so Spectacle politely responded and asked whether a planning application had been submitted for “a proposed two-towered structure seating up to 500 diners” in the area.

Our first email questioning the planning permission was sent on September 27th 2011. On November 30th, many excuses and nearly two months later, we received an email from Ms Goldsmith saying that “the Council has received a planning application for the structure. The application number is 11/2604/SD.”

A quick search on the Council’s website reveals that this application was made on November 2nd, a long time after we first requested the information and a long time after the tickets went on sale.

If the two towers and glass bridge was included in the first planning permission, why would they then have applied for it again?

The planning application made on November 2nd this year can be found on London Borough of Greenwich Planning Pages.

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London community requests FOI to protect Greenwich Park from ‘pruning’

London local campaign group, NoGOE (No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events), has addressed a Freedom of Information Act request to Greenwich Council with a regard to tree 1253 in Greenwich Park.

 

Tree 1253 Not chopped down- just pruned

 

NoGOE discovered that in spite of London 2012 Organizing Committee (LOCOG) promises being made on not cutting down the trees and returning the park to its current condition after the Games are to be broken. Now, they seek to find out “how and why and by whom, and on whose authority, tree 1253 has been cut down.”

Residents fear Greenwich Park, being the oldest Royal Park, as well as listed Grade 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site, will be “wrecked” after the Olympic Games. This is due to 72 trees planned to be further “pruned” to allow a 11-foot clearance for horses, in addition to other serious damage to the plants in the park.

Initially, the LOCOG planning application for Greenwich Park did not included the tree survey, but NoGOE managed to obtain a tree schedule under FOI from Greenwich Council. It clearly shows a handful of trees located alongside the proposed route of the cross-country course, and these are 1254, 1256 and 279. Some of them are ancient and veterans, as NoGOE points out.

The planning application also shows information about the grassland being re-opened as late as in November 2015, which enhances the conflict between  NoGOE and LOCOG even more.

NoGOE members, and among them the FOI request issuer Rachel Mawhood, believe the Olympic Equestrian events in 2012 should not be held at Greenwich Park, as it is not a suitable site for this mega event.

Will Connell, Performance Director of the British Equestrian Team, said: “LOCOG has no intention of cutting down trees or closing the park for a year, and I think that local residents should be proud that such an exciting Olympic sport will be on their doorstep in 2012.”

LOCOG in its planning application for the venue announced:

The entire park will only be closed for a four week period from 6th July to 3rd August in 2012;
The children’s playground and the majority of the flower garden within the park will remain open throughout this four week period with the exception of cross country day;
There are no planned residential road closures, and no trees will be cut down;
After the Games, the park will be returned to the condition in which it was received.

NoGOE fear they cannot trust LOCOG, as one tree has already been cut down with no prior warning.

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Olympic Equestrian Events, is Greenwich Park the right venue?

Computer simulation of the view from the Wolfe statue created by Greenwich Landscape Artists

Computer simulation of the view from the Wolfe statue created by Greenwich Landscape Artists

No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events (NOGOE) is an ongoing campaign for the  2012 Olympic equestrian events to be moved to a more suitable venue.

The members of this community action group are extremely worried about the impact the Games will have on the Park and the local community. Despite the promises made by the  Olympic organisers to repair any damage caused during the Games, the community says the park is too small and features hundred year old trees that will have to be “pruned” to allow riders to pass during the competitions and that, according to the campaigners, will eventually be damaged.

Following a test event that took place last July, Derrick Spurr, Project Manager for the Games, said he was “absolutely confident” that within a few months the park will start to green up again very quickly after the end of the Olympics.

Sue McNeil, NOGOE’s spokeswoman, described the preparations for the test event as “a rape of the park – it’s covered in sand and railings and tractors. One or two trees have had severe pruning. It makes us suspicious of what will happen next year.”

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