Parts of Dagenham’s Mayesbrook Park to close so athletes can train in safety

Olympic athletes from across the world will use areas of Mayesbrook Park to train in during the games this summer.

Sections of the park, in Lodge Avenue, will be closed to the public from July 16 to September 9 and athletes will be ferried to the site by half-hourly coaches.

Permission for fencing and temporary buildings to be erected on the grounds were approved at a development control board meeting at Barking Town Hall on Monday.

The park, which will be used by about 800 Olympic and Paralympic competitors in throwing events such as javelin and shot put, lies south of the soon-to-be completed �11million SportHouse hall, which will host training for Olympic handball, Paralympic judo and wheelchair rugby.

But the public will not be able to watch the athletes training for security reasons, a council spokesman has said.

The fencing will result in the temporary closure of the east-west path across the park between Woodbridge Road and Lodge Avenue, forcing Barking Abbey students to take a longer route at the end of the summer term, between July 16 and 23, and at the start of the new term, September 3 to 7.

Barking Football Club, which is based at the park, will remain open and there will also be space left for Barking and Dagenham sportsmen and women and dog walkers.

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The council has not received any complaints from nearby schools and feels the temporary closure is necessary to provide a safe training environment for the athletes during the Games.

At the meeting Cllr Sam Tarry said he was concerned about how extra transport would affect the area.

“I love sport and think it’s fantastic that the athletes will be training here,” he said, “but I do worry about the impact the shuttle buses will have on traffic in Lodge Avenue, a road which gets extremely busy.”

A representative from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games said coaches could increase congestion but he did not believe it would be a significant problem.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the plans.

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