For all the hue and cry over Greenwich Park and the Olympics, there’s very little notice being taken of what’s going on at Woolwich Common, venue for the 2012 shooting and wheelchair archery events. Of all London’s Olympic sites, Woolwich Common is undergoing the most dramatic changes of anywhere outside the Olympic Park itself. You have to go up close to really appreciate the size of what’s being erected…
The first thing I thought after taking my first look for a few weeks – hadn’t I seen the design on the vents somewhere before?
The second thing… it’s huge!
You’ll see a token bit of branding has appeared on the quieter (Ha Ha Road) side of the site, but what’s happening will remain a mystery to anyone passing by on the South Circular. You can see it from as a far away as Charlton House, looming over the skyline.
While there’s been an outcry over possible damage to Greenwich Park – now looking in good shape following July’s test events – the scale of the work at Woolwich slipped through unnoticed. About half the common is out of bounds, and a small part has been covered in tarmac for a disabled car park. “It’s Woolwich grass, nobody’s bothered about that,” one local complained when imploring me to take a look.
Across Ha Ha Road, screens are being erected while the frontage of the Royal Artillery Barracks is being spruced up. While there’s worries on just how many people can be squeezed into Greenwich Park for the equestrian events, the real visible Olympic action is currently happening further east.
Speaking of squeezing people into Greenwich, we’ll hopefully find out more about plans for SE London’s road and transport networks during 2012 at an exhibition at Devonport House between Thursday and Sunday. Some local bus routes will change during the Olympics – one will see the 486 diverted at Charlton Park (presumably to steer it away from Woolwich Common), others will see extra double-deckers put on the 108 and 129 with changes around North Greenwich. We’ll find out more, hopefully, on Thursday.