Olympics blow for Hackney

Victoria Park: keep walking if you want to see Olympic events

ANOTHER promise of an Olympics win for East London has run its course.

The men’s 50km and the men’s women’s 20km walking events due to be held in Victoria Park on the mideastern edge of the borough will instead be staged in loops through The Mall in central London.

The park, much loved by Hackney residents, was given in 1995 to Tower Hamlets council. Its present chief executive, Kevan Collins, is fighting what he describes as a broken promise by Olympic organisers.

Hackney council today Wed 29 Sep 2010 responded to Loving Dalston’s claim that the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games is about to admit that the walking, uhm, races will be moved from the park to central London.  “We having noting to say about that,” said a council officer but added that Hackney is supporting Tower Hamlets in its efforts to get the Olympics marathon rerouted  through that borough.

Guy Nicholson, Hackney council’s Cabinet Member for the Olympic, told Loving Dalston: “The London 2012 marathon should connect our city — west with east, It should start on the Mall, but must finish in the Olympic Stadium.”

Hackney council has the problem of the £400 million Media Centre near Leabank Square in Homerton, already scaled down to what London Assembly Conservative Olympics spokesman Andrew Boff says will be “a huge shed” after the games.

Mayor Jules Pipe has admitted that plans for the centre have been scaled back after raising private finance for the £400 million building became more difficult than expected. Local activists are trying to play a part.

David Altheer 290910

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5 thoughts on “Olympics blow for Hackney

  1. No problem – from my POV i think the rerouting of these walking races and the marathon are a disgrace for all of East London and not just Hackney alone. Obese kids need inspiring wherever they live and these were free events – not one where it’s £50 a ticket and a lotto to even get that chance to buy it.

    Media Centres a different challenge entirely – and one solely for Hackney as far as i can see. Interesting comments in Broadcast magazine yesterday (can’t post link)

  2. The facts should get in the way of a story, so I have corrected the story. The possibly hard-to-credit truth is that I was using a pre-1995 council map in my office. I also failed to check the street signs — which often specify the “owning” borough — when I took a pic in the park yesterday 30 Sep 2010. A double apology.
    It is not, however, always easy to change a location with a few strokes of a bureaucratic pen or PC and though Vicky Park is now no more in Hackney borough than, say, Orpington, is in the county of Kent, popular attitudes about area ownership linger. Hackney people will anyway miss out on being able to watch the walking events by merely strolling to the park or even just crossing a road from their homes.
    I have removed the Media Centre error. I was relying on my research on the internet, where the centre’s street address is not easy to find.
    Readers do this site a great service when they point out errors. Even typographical /grammatical slips will be corrected as soon as possible. Accuracy is the least the public should expect of a journalist.

  3. The Media Centre is in Hackney, actually and so is the Handball Arena. Victoria Park was in the past jointly managed by TH and Hackney Councils. But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of a story right? right!

    Anyway with the Marathon also being rerouted to West London there will be nothing the poor burghers of Hackney will be allowed to watch for free. These events could be just the thing to help inspire the Obese kids of Hackney to take up Sport

  4. All of the Park is in Tower Hamlets; Media Centres on old Arena Fields site not Leabank Square. But hey, don’t let facts get in teh way of a story right?

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