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Olympic-size row over 2012 disappointment

February 13, 2008 6:39 PM
By Piers Meyler in Brentwood Gazette

A Row has erupted after the plug was sensationally pulled on Brentwood being the setting for the 2012 Olympic mountain biking event.

The Gazette has this week quizzed key figures and Olympic organisers for answers to the questions on many people's lips.

But borough councillors, who met to discuss the shock news, have locked horns as to the way forward.

Lib Dem Cllr David Kendall wants to know why Brentwood has been left hanging for two years only to be dramatically dropped.

He said: "I think as a community we deserve a much greater explanation as to what happened.

"Simply being told the mountain bike organisers went over to Weald Park and decided it was not the right place I find quite bizarre.

"It has been over two years that we have known Weald Park was going to be the place and suddenly to come out with this is mind-boggling.

"I think we are owed, as a community, much more of an explanation.

"Why were we left hanging for two-and-a-half years? Why were we not told until now?"

Labour party candidate for Brentwood South, Julie Morrissey, has also demanded answers and called for a public debate.

She said: "I was surprised to hear the view of some borough councillors that the event was lost. We should move on, not sulk!

"I am very much of the view that to move on from this disappointing outcome, we must discuss in full what has taken place and make sure that residents do not have their hopes raised like this again if we are ever in a similar position in the future.

"Residents deserve a full explanation. How was this possible? What about the investment we have already made into the Olympics?"

"Why did the cycling federation make their announcement at this late stage? I'm not sulking but I would like some answers."

Cllr Phil Baker, chairman of the sports, leisure and culture committee, said: "It is out of control. They decided Weald Park would get it, but when it came to looking at the design of it and the nitty-gritty they decided against.

"But if we start rocking the boat too much it might damage our chances of getting something else."