London 2012 Olympics: Camden pubs and clubs prepare for ‘business as unusual’

Pubs, clubs and restaurants have been told to brace themselves for 100 days of “business as unusual” as the Olympics comes to Camden.

With fewer than 200 days until the opening ceremony, Camden Council has advised businesses to stockpile supplies, change delivery times and scale-up capacity over the summer, as hordes of visitors are expected to flock to the borough.

Although Camden will not host an Olympic event, the council has forecast a surge in tourism between the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations at the start of June and the Paralympic Games in mid September.

Vicky Wallas, noise and licensing manager, said Camden will be advertised to a “global audience” by the Games.

Speaking at The Roundhouse on Monday (January 9), she said: “This summer is very much going to be business as unusual, so we need to be ready for it.

“We cannot put our heads in the sand and think the Olympics is not happening in Camden. It’s going to impact us greatly.

“Camden is open for business. This is the message that we want people to understand. Camden will be promoted as an area for business and more importantly leisure.”

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She also warned that 5,000 journalists from across the world will descend on Camden and that the borough could be judged to a large extent on their experience.

Council officials are expecting millions more people to use the Olympic Javelin train, a high speed service from St Pancras railway station to Stratford, and the Jubilee line.

But Superintendent Roger Smalley said the borough is likely to lose up to 200 officers to police the Olympics.

Camden’s depleted force will be boosted by reserves from outside London, but he warned it was likely response times would suffer and Camden could see a rise in crime.

“Crime issues are not going to go away and in fact I think we’re going to have a other people turning up to take advantage of those large crowds passing through,” he said.

Michael Nicholas, who owns six venues in Camden including the Lock Tavern and The Enterprise, said: “When you run a business it’s not just about the Olympics.

“To the council it’s about managing one event. For us every weekend is an event and you are always striving to improve.

“It’s important to work to get the best out of the event, but we also have the rest of the year to concentrate on.”

Rich Hepburn, general manager of The Camden Head pub in Camden Town, said: “We are looking forward to the event and to the extra tourists coming to the area. We just want to embrace the whole event.

“We’re planning to take on a few more staff and there’s going to be a lot of logistics to handle I imagine.”