A GIANT barrier will stand in front of the 2012 Olympic shooting venue, after concerns lead pellets could rain down on nearby homes.

The image of shooters firing their guns against a view of the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich was supposed to be one of the defining images of the London games. In fact it features heavily in the city's Olympic bid back in 2005.

But the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which is responsible for building the Olympic venues, has now conceded it cannot meet strict shooting regulations which require a minimum 300 yards (275m) safety zone beyond the shooting positions.

A 60ft net barrier will now protect the barrack's married quarters during the shooting events meaning spectators will have an impeded view of the venue's spectacular Georgian facade.

A spokesman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) said: "LOCOG, the ODA and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have undertaken robust and detailed studies into the safety aspects of holding the shooting at Woolwich.

"All parties - including the International Shooting Federation - have signed this off and are working together in order to stage a safe and successful event which showcases the sport in the best possible way in 2012."

Meanwhile a spokesman for the MoD said: "There are no plans to evacuate our families from their homes during the events.

News Shopper: The view of building's Georgian facade will be impeded

"Advice will be give to the households nearer the time but we are happy the risk to our residents will be very small."

The UK's governing body for shooting, British Shooting, is firmly against Woolwich as the venue for 2012, and has campaigned for it to be switched to the sport's existing headquarters in Bisley, Surrey, which it says is the home of the sport.

Last year 10,941 signed a petition on the Downing Street website which was set-up by Great Britain shooting team member, Nicola Heron.

It opposed the use of the barracks saying the venue will only provide a temporary home for the sport, and not any lasting legacy.

In other Olympic news, LOCOG announced plans for Greenwich Park to be closed for four weeks during the equestrian and modern pentathlon events.

Initial plans to close the park for six to eight weeks received opposition from campaign group NOGOE (No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events) which says horses will damage the historic site. It wants the events to be moved to a different location.

New plans would see the park shut from July 6 to August 3 in 2012, and there are no plans for any residential road closures.

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