Greenwich Park gets new manager ahead of 2012 Olympics

The Royal Parks has appointed a new manager at Greenwich Park in the run-up to the equestrian events that will be held there during the 2012 Olympics.

Graham Dear has taken on the role while his predecessor Derrick Spurr will continue to work for the Royal Parks as project manager for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Dear joins the Royal Parks from Kent County Council, where he was country parks manager.

Having trained in horticulture at University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, he gained experience in park management at Wolverhampton Borough Council and South Staffordshire District Council.

Dear said: "The fact that the 2012 equestrian events will be based at Greenwich Park is a big attraction of the job. I look forward to working with Derrick Spurr to maintain the integrity of the park."

The equestrian events have sparked controversy among people in the local community. Four local amenity groups - Friends of Greenwich Park, Westcombe Society, Blackheath Society and Greenwich Society - have lobbied to ensure that the park is not damaged and closures are kept to a minimum.

A recent meeting the groups held with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic & Paralympic Games (LOCOG) was attended by more than 350 people. The groups said they believe that the LOCOG is now listening to their concerns.

A Royal Parks representative told HW that there had been significant consultation and changes had been made to plans as a result. These include the total park closure period being reduced to four weeks, the cross-country course being moved to avoid sensitive areas and the children's playground and flower garden remaining open except for one day.

Spurr said Dear was a "great addition" to the team. He added: "I am delighted that my new Royal Parks role will allow me to focus on ensuring that the equestrian events are a great success and that they have a minimal impact on the park and the park users."

The LOCOG is responsible for reinstating the park to its pre-event condition following the Olympic Games in the summer of 2012.

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