Olympic view plan in Weymouth approved

Nothe Gardens and Fort with fleet in sea
Image caption The park will have views of the ceremonial medal run during the Olympics

Plans by the London 2012 Olympic organisers to build viewing structures in an area of Weymouth, Dorset, have been approved.

The London 2012 Organising Committee (Locog) plans to construct "temporary structures" at Nothe Gardens to enable viewing of the Games' sailing events.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council approved the application despite objections.

The plan had been labelled an "ugly intrusion" by a conservation group.

The Open Spaces Society said it would also stop the public from accessing the usually free area.

It will mean that during the sailing competition, which runs from 29 July to 11 August 2012, 40,000 sq m of public space in Weymouth will be closed off.

Site restored

Temporary tents, cabins and fences will be erected to create the viewing area, which will accommodate up to 4,600 people per day in the gardens, fort and on the grass banks.

Spectators are set to be charged £55 to watch some events from the park, such as the ceremonial medal run close to the shore.

Locog claims the fee will aid "safety and crowd control".

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council said Locog would remove the structures directly after the Games have finished and restore the site.

The Open Spaces Society had urged the council to reject application and to tell Locog not to put the viewing structures on public land.

Councillor Howard Legg, council brief holder for special projects, said: "The use of the Nothe has been a contentious proposal overall, but the gardens will only be out of use for a short period of time covering this strategically important event.

"The council as landowner made the decision to lend the Nothe to Locog earlier this year and had to balance the views of people with opposing views, and take into account a number of important considerations."

Plans for a 173ft (53m) observation tower, as part of the Festival Village Olympic development near Weymouth Pavilion, are also under consideration by the council.

The £15m Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy was the first new Olympic venue to be finished, following the announcement in July 2005 that London had won the Games.

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