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 2012 Equestrian Events

The Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events and the equestrian segment of the modern pentathlon are planned to take place at the Greenwich Royal Park in 2012

Whilst in the park, spectators will be able to enjoy the events on show against the backdrop of the National Maritime Museum.

Information : Planning Process

The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) submitted a planning application for the Olympic event in Greenwich Park. The application was received on 30 November 2009. Consultation ended in January 2010.

The application was approved at a public meeting of the Planning Board meeting on 23 March.

Even though it may be exciting in some aspects having an Olympic event at the park, there have been concerns that an event as big as this could have adverse effects on the environmental aspects. A Q&A is avaliable from the London 2012 regarding this, but here are a few examples of how they plan to protect the park:

How long will it take to restore the Park?

“All of the structures we would be putting in for the Games are temporary and would be removed afterwards. We are clear in our planning application that all ground works related to the Games will be completed by November 2012. Alongside this reinstatement programme we are working with The Royal Parks to make improvements to the condition of the Park.

Following the Games, The Royal Parks will implement a substantial three-year Acid Grassland Restoration Programme to improve the extent of high quality grassland within the Park to leave a lasting legacy. This activity would be funded by LOCOG.”

How will you ensure that you won’t damage the Park?

“We take our responsibilities very seriously and our planning application shows the detailed work we have carried out on all aspects of our plans for Greenwich Park. We will make sure that we return the Park in the condition in which we receive it, and we have fully involved The Royal Parks and English Heritage in the development of all studies and plans.

The potential impacts of our plans have been thoroughly assessed as part of our Environmental Impact Assessment within our Planning Application. This assessment has concluded that it would be possible to do this without creating long term damage to the Park.

The Royal Parks is responsible for management of the Park and maintaining the biodiversity of the Park. They will continue to monitor and manage our activity in the Park to ensure there is no long term damage.”

What about the possible damage to tree roots?

“Arboricultural experts have worked with us to ensure the Cross Country course will not adversely affect any trees. We will continue to work with them, as well as with The Royal Parks, English Heritage and Natural England, to ensure any necessary protective measures are in place to protect trees and root areas while developing the course, and from any impact that might be caused by spectators.

As we have always maintained, no trees will be removed from the Park.

Some minor tree pruning is unavoidable but will be undertaken on a case by case basis, with input from an arboriculturist accustomed to working in historic landscapes and under the direction of The Royal Parks. Minor pruning of this nature takes place routinely as part of The Royal Parks’ normal maintenance programmes.”

Whether they stick the guidelines is another matter altogether but we can be certain that there will be uproar by the local community if any irreversible damage is caused.

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Greenwich Park, a centre for Equestrian Excellence? Perhaps not.

Just another sunny day in Greenwich Park

‘The message from tonight is loud and clear. This great park is on loan to the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and the people of the world.’

Those were the words spoken by the London 2012 organiser Sebastian Coe on the 23rd March 2010 when plans for a new Olympic site were finally approved. Unfortunately, the park in question is Greenwich and to say that makes a few of us slightly irate is a mockery in itself.

Right from the start, the Olympic Committee have been focused on extravagantly splashing the cash whilst seemingly simple solutions to oversee controversial plans have been overlooked. From crushing allotments to de-housing local communities, next on the list is the iconic green area of Greenwich Park.

Home to an abundance of wildlife, 300 year-old trees and not to mention a World Heritage site renowned for its historical and cultural artefacts, what better way to celebrate this institution of London life than to bring in the bricks and mortar. The organisers are relying on the notion of creating a sporting legacy in the area for local support although it seems they failed to highlight the fact that the world of Equestrian sporting is quite out of reach to most they are preaching to.

In a nutshell, how Greenwich park should remain is as an area of tranquil relaxation away from the direct hive of Olympic activity. The park could be the place to take in the city views, enjoy picnics and light banter about who wins and loses, not to mention the fact that there are permanent facilities already available for Equestrian Sporting Events around London. Why should it take millions of pounds, large camera crews and thousands of Olympic-goers to validate the significance of Greenwich Park; anyone fond of London will already hold this area close to their hearts.

Please join us and sign the petition to appeal this decision; there is still time for changes to be made.

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See our Olympics project pages for more information and videos.

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