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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Westfield Stratford bottleneck forces reduction in Olympic day tickets

The new Westfield shopping centre at Stratford has already seen millions of people walk through its doors. As the only way to get in to the Olympic 2012 site those numbers are only likely to increase. Good for business, bad for sports fans.

In what seems like a rather large oversight in planning, it has recently been reported that crowd flow analysis at the centre has shown that the ‘Olympic gateway’ has already produced a potentially dangerous bottleneck. This is even before the Olympics has started. It’s only going to get worse.

For those sports fans that were unable to get tickets to the actual events, day or “Rover” tickets will be available. These tickets will allow general access to the Olympic park where events can be seen on large screens. Due to concerns over the bottleneck, the number of day tickets have now been reduced.

Controlling access to the Olympics in this way, forced “footfall”, obviously felt like a good business plan for Westfield and their Olympic friends and too good to miss, unlike the Olympics for all those without tickets.

Westfield wins Olympic Gold

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Olympics could have negative effects on sports participation

After London was announced as the host of the 2012 Olympic Games, Labour made a number of promises about using the Olympics as a way of inspiring people to be more healthy and get involved with sport and exercise. They planned to get a million more people playing sport three or more times a week and to get a million more people doing more general physical activity. Whether it is actually possible for mega events such as the Olympics to have this kind of impact is something which has been contested by a number of studies.

The BMJ set out to find any study that had ever been conducted looking at the real-world health and socioeconomic impacts on places which have hosted major sporting events. From the 54 studies they found,  there seemed to be no evidence to support the idea that events like Olympics have a positive effect on health or socioeconomic outcomes.

One of the studies looked at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and found that sports participation fell after the games, and there became in an increased gap in participation between the rich and the poor areas of Manchester.

Another study in Manchester suggested problems arose because voluntary groups were being excluded from using Commonwealth branding and the new facilities built for the event tended to only benefit professional athletes rather than the general population.

The government now seems to be dropping any focus it had on its original plan to use the Olympics to get people involved with healthy activity and sport, probably having come to the realisation that they will never meet the large targets that they originally proposed. This goes to show that the government can make big claims when they are bidding to get these events but when it comes down to it, they don’t actually have to follow these claims through.

For more information click Bad Science

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Olympic City Critiques: a Birkbeck reading group

The Olympic Games literally and symbolically ‘take place’ in major cities. They represent the mega-event par excellence which not only physically transforms areas of cities beyond recognition but also shifts the urban place imaginary. City growth coalitions eagerly bid against other cities to win this world-class spectacle primarily for the boost it is supposed to impart to the local politics of urban regeneration. Researchers and activists over the last thirty years have highlighted how such grandiose visions and accelerated development projects produce spectacular but also highly inequitable outcomes for urban citizens. As with other neo-liberal regeneration programmes, the vital question of ‘who really benefits?’ is highly pertinent. However, many of the texts which researchers have produced are not well known or well understood outside the various academic specialisms within which they circulate. We are setting up a reading group open to students, academics, activists and other individuals interested in exploring the social, economic and political processes of these spectacular urban mega-events from critical perspectives.

The first meeting of the Olympic City Critiques reading group will take place at Birkbeck in central London on Wed 30 March 2011 12-2pm (Room 351, Malet Street).
The second meeting will be on Wed 27 April 12-2pm (Room 253, Malet Street). Subsequent meetings will be two weeks apart.

The paper ‘Going for Gold: Globalizing the Olympics, Localizing the Games’ by J.R. Short, provides a useful introduction to the topics we will be discussing, and I can email it to anyone interested in attending. The paper discusses the siting of the Summer Olympic Games at the global, national and local scales: the increasing corporatization of the Games is examined, and their use in city marketing campaigns is evaluated.

If you are interested in joining the reading group, please send an email to Dr. Paul Watt.

We look forward to seeing you at what will hopefully prove to be a stimulating reading group series.

Paul & Martin

Dr Paul Watt (p.watt@bbk.ac.uk)
Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies
Department of Geography, Environment & Development Studies
Birkbeck, University of London

Martin Slavin
member of the East End based group Games Monitor
a network of people raising awareness about issues within the London Olympic development processes.

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British Olympic Association pretends Olympic budget is for regenerating East London

Olympic chiefs are having a luxurious beano in handily located Acapulco Mexico to hear progress reports on the preparations for London 2012. British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt was jubilant that the Con-Lib coalition  government had excluded the games from the recent drastic spending cuts.

Hunt told the audience that the Olympic budget of 9.28 billion pounds included “7.3 billion pounds for the regeneration of east London.”

“I think a two billion pound investment for staging the games feels about right and appropriate for what’s going to be a fantastic games.”

Why Acapulco? Well you have to travel a long way to find an audience who will believe that the London Olympic budget is being spent on anything other than the London Olympics. I dare Hunt to come here and tell East Londoners that nearly four fifths of the Olympic budget is being spent on them and only £2bn is going on the games.

Fancy a dip? Or getting your figures massaged? Or are you happy just lying on the beach?

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Olympic Organisers Back Out of Promised Air Fare For Athletes

The London Olympic 2012 Games Organisers promised £20 million in airfares to pay for the travel of athletes and officials.  They attempted to quietly withdraw from this commitment by the use of price caps and a distance formula.  Countries without direct flights to London will be out of pocket having a greater effect on poorer countries especially those from Africa and the Pacific, who like Londoners are finding out that Olympic promises are easily broken. Zimbabwe’s Olympic committee secretary general Robert Mutsauki said the African nations would hold the London organisers to their promises. Good luck!

Full Article Here.

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London 2012 Olympics saved from cuts in Comprehensive Spending Review

Drapers Fields trashed for an Olympic depot

Grass roots sports lose- Olympics win

Schools and community sports will be the biggest losers under the Comprehensive Spending Review while the London Olympic project is likely to avoid major cuts to its budget or contingency. Losses of local sports amenities like Hackney Marshes and Drapers Fields as a result of the Olympics will now roll out across the nation as non-Olympic cuts hit.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport is understood to have reached a settlement with the Treasury that will see about 30 per cent cut from its annual £1.6 billion budget. However London 2012 will  escape significant cuts to its £9.3 billion budget, and is expected to have its remaining contingency fund left largely untouched, partly out of necessity and partly expediency.

It is claimed that most of the major Olympic contracts have been awarded, so it is too late for major savings. The games are predicted to be completed with surplus contingency of £700 million. However the DCMS and the Olympic bodies have argued that is politically better to leave the contingency in place rather than take it back, and risk having to pay out in the event of an unforeseen crisis in the project.

The cuts to the DCMS budget will make it unlikely that the government can deliver on its promise of an abiding participation legacy from the London 2012 Olympics.
Sports minister Hugh Robertson will prioritise protecting funding for elite athletes in the run up to the London Games, and grass roots initiatives and projects run by UK Sport and Sport England’s will be cut.
Shadow Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell who told the nation the Olympics would only cost £3bn when it was nearer £10bn now claims she is concerned school sports initiatives will be hit by the cuts. So clearly nothing to do with her.

The details of the Olympic funding will not be announced by the Government on Wednesday. The cuts are likely to be made public on Thursday.

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London 2012 Olympics Logo – Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station Community Group urge you to take the chance to nominate Battersea Power Station landmark to be used as the design on a set of commemorative pin badges. We here at Spectacle thought about just how great an opportunity this is to raise awareness about Battersea Power Station and the current state it’s in.

You are able to submit one vote on the landmark of your choice, and so this is a very good chance to kick-start some action dealing with the Battersea Power Station problems!

The website can be found here

Visit Spectacle’s on-going Battersea Power Station Project

Watch a video trailer here: Battersea Power Station – The Story So Far

Subscribe to our newsletter mailing list, visit our contact page to subscribe

If you live in the neighbourhood and would like to get involved, contact us here putting Battersea Power Station in your message.

Click here for more Battersea Power Station links

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