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Greenwich Park images five weeks after end of Olympics and Paralympics events
AT FIRST glance it could be mistaken for a battlefield, but these are images of Greenwich Park five weeks on from Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events.
These photos show workers dismantling the Games’ spectator stands and cleaning up the park ahead of an anticipated November 30 hand-over to Royal Parks.
Away from the construction site eyesore, residents and visitors can still enjoy a walk in the park’s autumnal splendour.
But with a long way to go to clear areas of the park, some people are doubtful next month’s deadline will be met.
Brothers Richard Kirkip, 68, and Raymond Kirkip, 67, grew up in Deptford and were showing the park - where they used to play as children - to visiting family.
Richard Kirkip said: "November is a little ambitious. It’s more like 2015.
"It almost doesn’t even look like they have started taking it down. There’s so much to do."
The once grassy spaces in front of the Queen’s House are now rows of churned up dirt – they are expected to be reseeded over the Winter months and back to their former glory by Spring next year.
Nick Marsden, visiting for the day from Bexleyheath, said: "It’s like being back in the 40s in austerity Britain with allotments."
The 46-year-old added that he was sure it had been worth the effort but it would be interesting to see if the deadlines were reached.
Community group Friends of Greenwich Park say they are pleased with the progress of the park’s recovery and are confident short-term damage will be restored easily.
Campaign group No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events (NOGOE) say the Olympic images were "spectacular" but the effects on residents and the park itself are "detrimental".
NOGOE spokesman Sev D’Souza told News Shopper: "It is like a bog. This is a world heritage site, one of the most beautiful in London – completely ruined.
"The use of Greenwich Park has had a detrimental effect on local residents."
With park closures during the Olympics and the ongoing disruption until Spring next year, he says local people have been deprived of a vital green space in a congested area of London.
NOGOE are also concerned about the damage to the park’s ecological system, with acid grasslands and tree roots affected by the toll of the equestrian events.
Mr D’Souza added: "Everybody enjoyed the spectacular aerial photos of the events but few people realised that there was a heavy price to pay and it’s been paid by regular park users, residents and the park itself which is going to be damaged and we don’t know whether it is ever going to look as beautiful as it did before."
He also fears the closure of the park – which has been open to the public since 1820 - may set a precedent for future events to be held there and warns against such an occurrence.
LOCOG’s general manager for Greenwich Park Jeremy Edwards says progress at the park is on-track for November and is confident there will not be long-term damage.
Mr Edwards said: “It is going very well. In a lot of cases we are ahead of schedule.
“We want to get out as quickly as possible but to do it in a safe way and not damage anything.
“I don’t believe there has been long-term damage.”
He went on to say LOCOG had worked in partnership with Royal Parks to ensure a restoration programme which includes tree root protection.