Say cheese! It’s Woolwich’s Olympic shooting venue


If you live near or travel over Woolwich Common a lot, you’ll be getting used to the sight above before long. Work’s already started on getting the common and the nearby Royal Artillery Barracks set to host the shooting events in next summer’s Olympics and Paralympics. There’s more in this newsletter which apparently has been delivered to the common’s “closest neighbours”. Three indoor firing ranges and one outdoor range are being constructed on the common, while 50 trees are being taken down to make room (with a promise that they’ll be replaced by 75 trees once the games are over.)


Ha Ha Road, which crosses the common, will be closed while the Olympics are on – not much fun for anyone who needs to access Queen Elizabeth Hospital, or is travelling on a bus through that area. Circular Way – a long-closed road now used as a cycle route – will be closed until December 2012 to make room for the works on the common.

Apparently there was a “drop-in session in Woolwich Town Centre” in February – I don’t remember any publicity for this. It certainly didn’t get a mention in Greenwich Council’s propaganda weekly, Greenwich Time, which surely exists to promote such events. I’m sure a lot of people might have wanted to find out some more. If you know better, please let me know.

Now – why haven’t the above images, and the alterations to the common been publicised as widely as possible? Again, this is the kind of thing Greenwich Council publishes a newspaper for, isn’t it? Indeed, what are Greenwich’s plans for the reinstatement of the common after summer 2012? But it’s also the job of LOCOG to tell us about their ideas, not just land it on local residents as a fait accompli.

Just as in the East End with the marathon, and just as with the council-backed secrecy surrounding planning for Greenwich Park, it’s starting to look like London 2012 is taking residents for granted.

Meanwhile, some details about this summer’s test event in Greenwich Park – yet to be passed by Greenwich’s planning board – have appeared on the Friends of Greenwich Park website following a meeting of the Local Societies Consultative Group. However, at present, minutes of this meeting are not publicly available.

19 comments

  1. Hello,

    For me there are two distinct issues: the Olympics and communication about it. I don’t think we should be too quick to overlook the benefits of the games, particularly to Woolwich. I’m personally very excited by the idea of there being an Olympic event in Woolwich and now work has begun it’s started to make it all the more real. [Admittedly, I think the structures look hideous and very cheese-like].

    The communication: ah! I represent Kidbrooke with Hornfair ward which runs up to just before the hospital and heard nothing about this until work was about to commence. As a resident I heard nothing either but I have been told that a leaflet was distributed to residents closer to the Common. In fairness to GT and the local press, I don’t think LOCOG have been as forthcoming as they could have been with information in advance of the works.

    LOCOG has agreed to ensure that more local residents received information in future about the works because I remain unconvinced that information was widely disseminated, certainly to people on the edge of my ward. Ideally, the works would have been promoted well in advance so once the hoarding went up people knew what was happening but, to use a phrase I hate, ‘we are where we are’. I would also welcome some nice pretty Olympics signs on the hoarding so residents can see and have access to information about what I think will be some exciting developments in the area. There is a section for the barracks on the Games website but it doesn’t yet link to the Engage newsletter which contains all of the relevant information.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Hayley.

    The council doesn’t get off its responsibilities here, though – if you produce one of the two weekly council newspapers in the country, there’s absolutely no excuse in the world for not publicising what’s going on here. The council and LOCOG are in cahoots – and must share responsibility for the lack of information about what’s going on at the common. (And, to a different extent, Greenwich Park, with its cosy meetings for local societies that exclude all else.)

  3. I don’t know why GT didn’t report it and I have no involvement in its editorial. I can only guess that they weren’t aware of it (it’s not exactly easy to find on the LOCOG website), but that is simply a guess.

    I will make enquiries as I think it might be constructive in future to ensure that the Council helps LOCOG as much as possible in communicating the works to people. As i said in my comment, LOCOG said they would make extra efforts in future too. I really don’t want Woolwich to lag behind in any way because of the greater extent of the event at Greenwich.

  4. Thanks for all the info!
    I cycle along Circular Way every morning and wondered what the hell was going on. Like everyone I know, I had no idea the Olympic venue would be on the Common – we all assumed it would be within the barracks grounds. i thought that the Barracks frontage was meant to be the backdrop for the events?
    It is very strange that Greenwich Council have made no mention of any of this in their weekly newspaper.

  5. It looks good. It’s not holding big events, and with money tight I didn’t expect too much. It’s all about the Royal Academy backdrop really isn’t it, and that will look fantastic on TV. I’m only now beginning to realise and it sinking in that the actual olympics games will be in Woolwich.

    I hope they remove some of the street clutter on ha ha Road. A couple of years ago someone (TfL? the council?) stuck up loads of poles and signs up along there every couple of metres saying do not park there or something similar. I would have thought the double red lines all along would have been a giveaway. It’s funny how if anything looks slightly rural in London, then often it has to be urbanised. A grass verge next to a road? Can’t have that, let’s put in curbs. Grass by a road? Pave over it or fence it off. Do they think people in cities just can’t handle no order and control, and when faced with open areas will self destruct? So instead they stick signs, paving, fences all over. Funny business

  6. Does Woolwich Common have any friends? LOCOG are going to fell 50 trees in preparing this Olympic venue. Was that in the planning application?

    http://www.london2012.com/documents/oda-publications/rab-engage.pdf

    They say that, afterwards, they will replant with half as many again – ie 75 – and mature trees 8m high. But this is an unfunded spending commitment, and we all know what happens to those.

    Anyway, what about the size of the rootballs of 8m high trees – they’ll need huge holes dug to plant them – and if you don’t spread the roots out carefully of each one when you replant, it will never thrive.

  7. […] Woolwich Common still looks like “a battleship”, blocked off by forbidding grey hoardings and with no indication to locals that this will be the site of the Olympic shooting events. Indeed, I understand Greenwich Council was unaware that the closure of the London Cycle Network route across the common was about to take place – believing that Circular Way would only be closed occasionally. Cyclists now have to mix it at the main traffic lights on the South Circular Road instead. […]

  8. Ithought Woolwich Common was common land which by law no buildings should be erected.Is it a common or is it owned by the military.

  9. Only found out today what is hgappening on the common. It would be nice to have had some information on this in advance, but as to council news paper – what council news paper. We certainly don’t get one in Eltham.

  10. I have spoken to 24 people who live around and about the woolwich common area and not one of them had any idea what was going on, but when i spoke to 8 council workers they all new about it. That to me looks as if the council did not inform anyone unless they worked for them, i then pointed this out to one of the so called council workers and they said and i quote ” I dont give a Fu** about anyone else we know about it and thats what counts”

    I then looked into the voting that the council did for this to get passed for plaining and there where 21 people at this meeting and all of them voted NO but the council still put it through. This looks like a case of the council rubbing shoulders and wallets with the builders of this ugly looking thing.

  11. […] from us all (9 August) (“There’s been a lot of bullshit and rumours tonight.”) 4. Say cheese! It’s Woolwich’s Olympic shooting venue (6 April) (For all the tantrums over Greenwich Park, it was actually the emergence of Woolwich […]

  12. And they have closed the over spill car park at the QE,it’s MORE of a nightmare now to park there,a hell of a lot worse then before!

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