HOG HILL: BROKEN PROMISES AND BROKEN DREAMS OF OLYMPIC HOPEFULS
MARCH 2008 – but more likely August, almost two years after Eastway closed– that’s how far the opening date for the temporary relocation circuit at Hog Hill has now slipped.
This was revealed during heated exchanges between the London Development Agency and London Assembly member Dee Doocey at the Plenary at City Hall on Wednesday.
The latest delay is due to relocating the protected species of Great Crested Newt to another part of the site.
On the matter of the plans for the Legacy Velopark, rejected as unacceptable by British Cycling in June, the Olympic Delivery Authority CEO David Higgins said they would present four or five alternative plans for cycling experts to view later this month.
While the Olympic Delivery Authority claim to be on schedule in preparing the Olympic Games site, all Eastway Users have had concerning their temporary relocation since Eastway closed last November, is broken promises.
This has resulted in racing and training programmes in disarray, and lost promotions.
Doocey’s fire was reserved for the LDA - charged with completing relocations from the Olympic site - of “mind boggling incompetence” for their failure to look after Eastway Users interests.
Five different dates have been promised in the last 12 months, when the road and mtb circuits at Hog Hill in Redbridge would be ready.
“The latest date is now August 2008,” Doocey told Manny Lewis, CEO of LDA. “It just seems to me to be a catalogue of broken promises which is all the more concerning because broken promises could end up with broken dreams for the Olympic hopefuls, because they’ve got nowhere to train. What are you going to do to sort this out PDQ?”
Lewis said they only got clearance from Natural England on how to deal with newts in June this year.
“We decided we must produce an appropriate cycle circuit by March 2008 – the start of their season.
“I’m now making an commitment that we will achieve that at either the Hog Hill site, providing we can deal with the Newt issue in time. Or if we can’t produce that outcome that will make provision at Royal Docks for Eastway users.
“But even if we still have an issue with the newts, we will still produce some cycle provision at Hog Hill on time.”
Michael Humphreys, chair of Eastway Users Group, says the big losers are riders and promoters.
“I intended to promote the London circuit race championship at Hog Hill next April. But now we don’t know. The championships would be open to anyone living in the London area, irrespective of their home region.”
But he offered a glimmer of hope. “Work has begun at Hog Hill. The trees have been cleared to allow road access. There’s a big digger on site.”