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Lack of Games cash means dirty streets

PUBLISHED: 10:33 19 February 2011

A DECISION to award the council just £200,000 to cover the costs of the 2012 Games could result in Camden being embarrassed by dirty streets and rogue traders, a Town Hall chief has warned.

Leisure boss Cllr Tulip Siddiq said the council had been given a “poor deal” after the government granted it only 18 per cent of a £1.1million bid for Olympic cash.

She said this “woefully inadequate” amount will mean that public services will struggle to cope with the extra pressures caused by the thousands of people expected to descend on the borough.

The increase in visitors will be caused by the fact the ‘media hub’ for the Games will be located in Camden and it will provide one of the main travel links to central London.

It is predicted that 100,000 people an hour will board the high speed javelin train at St Pancras Station. In comparison, the neighbouring borough of Westminster, which will host events including archery at Lord’s and the triathlon in Hyde Park, was awarded more than the amount they applied for.

With limited resources, Cllr Siddiq said the council will struggle to make up the more than 80 per cent shortfall in their bid and so something was likely to give. She said: “This will lead to difficult choices between whether we keep up with demand for street cleaning or use the money for enforcement action against rogue street traders taking advantage of the crowds.

“At a time when government is asking us to take nearly £100m from our budget, asking us to find £1m to make Camden a more welcoming environment to visitors to the Games is money that could be spent on providing services to our residents.”

Cllr Siddiq also criticised the Government Olympic Executive and the Greater London Authority for the lack of transparency in making decisions on the grants.

“Until the rationale is explained the people of Camden will rightly feel short changed,” she added.

Meanwhile, Barnet Council hit out at Olympic officials after they confirmed the borough will not feature in the Olympic road racing route.

It was revealed in March last year that the show piece event had been moved and would no longer pass through Hampstead, Highgate and parts of Barnet as initially expected.

This week Olympic organising committee LOCOG announced that the road cycling will now take place around the Mall and Hampton Court.

Barnet’s customer access and partnerships boss Cllr Robert Rams, said the council felt a “once in a lifetime” chance had been snatched from it at the last minute.

He said: “Whilst Barnet taxpayers have been contributing to the Olympic Games financially, they will not reap any of the rewards, whilst the residents of Dorking and Weymouth will have the privilege of an event taking place in their doorstep.”

The Olympic torch relay is still expected to pass through Barnet on its way to the Olympic site in east London.

A spokesman for the GLA said: “The funding that has been allocated to boroughs is a reflection of the responsibilities and involvement that each will have during the Games.

“Westminster, which will play host to a great deal of sporting activity and three major venues, has been granted its level of funding for precisely this reason.”


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