Blackheath Olympic missile plan branded 'crazy'

Missiles planned for Blackheath

Missiles planned for Blackheath

First published in Politics News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

PLANS for a battery of surface to air missiles on Blackheath during the Olympics have been branded "crazy".

As News Shopper exclusively revealed last week, tests have already been carried out on the heath, along with nearby Oxleas Wood, and politicians have reacted angrily to not being informed beforehand.

The subject was the number one topic at the Blackheath Assembly last week, where Met Police and Ministry officials were invited along to field questions, and the debate has continued to rage.

Blackheath's Councillor Chris Maines said the heath had been chosen because of its height over London and he had been assured the missiles were purely a deterrent. But he said the final location decision would be taken at ministerial level.

He said: "I'm not sure this demonstration of our military muscle is necessary or the right approach.

"I'm keen that people know when it's happening and why, although I think we're actually powerless to prevent it."

During the assembly meeting, it emerged the Rapier system would be based outside Holly Hedge House, within yards of expensive Blackheath homes.

If it goes ahead, the area, one of six proposed sites in the capital poised for a last line of defence against any terrorist attack, will be fenced off and guarded by unarmed military police.

But Geoffrey Bull, 47, of Blackheath Village, was unimpressed, saying: "It's madness isn't it. It's crazy. Complete overkill.

"This is an open space that people enjoy everyday. It's not an army base."

Ward councillor Kevin Bonavia said: "In an ideal world we wouldn't be having missiles at all. But if a decision is taken on logistical grounds what we've got to do is make sure it's safe."

The Ministry of Defence said local authorities are being consulted and no final decision has been made on the missiles' location.

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