OLYMPIC TALENT TEAM MEMBERS CHALLENGE MAYOR TO EXPLAIN BROKEN PROMISES
WHEN three 14-year-old Olympic Talent Team members asked Mayor of London Ken Livingstone why the promised Eastway replacement circuit was still not built, the Mayor was unable to give them a satisfactory response.
The trio came face to face with the Mayor at “People’s Question Time” in London last week, three youngsters with Olympic dreams now at risk because of the broken promises made by the Mayor’s London Development Agency, charged with relocating people and businesses from the Hackney site.
The three, Jim Lewis, Oliver Rossi and Hugo Humphreys, are all members of the Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club which was based at Eastway, before it was closed 12 months ago to make way for the building of the 2012 Olympic Park.
The selection of three members of one club to the OIympic Talent Team is an outstanding achievement and testimony to what Eastway once stood for, a valuable resource squandered in the name of the 2012 Games.
Michael Humphreys, chair of Eastway Users Group, said: “They and their young club mates have simply been deprived of a venue to meet and ride together like they did on Eastway from 1975 to 2006. Several national champions and even Olympic medallists were brought up on Eastway, so it is extremely sad to think of these three local riders as the 'final harvest' of youth talent from Eastway, which was a world-class facility of London-wide importance to cycle sport.
“The riders' desperation follows the closure of the Eastway Cycle Circuit nearly a year ago. Since then, London's best hopefuls for a cycling medal have been without any facility for racing or training. They were promised relocation to Hog Hill in Hainault, with an interim in Docklands if needed. They have got nothing. They were promised a proper Olympic legacy for the Olympic sports of Road Race, Time-trial and Mountain bike Cross-country, but have seen the promised 'Velopark' in which these were to feature be diminished from 34ha down to under 7ha.”
The temporary replacement location for Eastway is to be at Hog Hill eight miles away. It was promised to be open last April. Then it was promised for September, then December, then February 2008. Now a partial circuit may be ready by next March, but completion could be August 2008, two seasons after the closure of Eastway.
The delays have been blamed on the need to relocate a protected species of newt from Hog Hill.
But Liberal London Assembly Member Dee Doocey has accused the LDA of “Mind-blowing incompetence”, telling their CEO Manny Lewis that the LDA should have acted earlier.
The velopark plans that have caused so much trouble