Olympic equestrian events could be coming to Hertfordshire if the government decides to press ahead with a bid to stage the 2012 Olympics in London.
Equestrian events naturally require specialist facilities, and British Olympic Association (BOA) project officer David Luckes, event organiser and course-builder Mike Tucker and British Equestrian Federation chief executive Andrew Finding have pinpointed the Royal Veterinary College at Potters Bar as a possible site.
Andrew Finding explained: “Part of the key to a successful bid for the Olympics is to be able to host as many events as possible within 30min travelling time of the Olympic village. With good road links to London, the RVC fulfils this criteria. There would, of course, be considerable investment required to put the facilities in place for an event of this standing, but then the equestrian community would benefit greatly from the legacy of the Games in the future – there is certainly a need for the standard of facility that would be created.”
The London Evening Standard has also suggested that Fairlop Plain, home of Fairlop Waters, the proposed racecourse development for which developers Wiggins were refused planning permission earlier this year, is under consideration.
The 345 acre site is to the north east of London and would be closer to the main stadium in Stratford.
A BOA spokesman declined to comment on either site, and stated: “We are carefully considering suitable sites for the equestrian events. All aspects of our bid are still being thought out and costed and venues are unlikely to be confirmed before the bid is delivered to the International Olympic Committee.”
The facilities which would be developed for the games could offer long-term employment and cultural benefits to deprived areas in the east of the capital, the proposed site for the main stadium and Olympic village, so the bid would fufil social criteria. It has already received strong backing from all 35 Olympic sports.
The Cabinet will now consider the BOA’s proposals in January before deciding whether to make an official bid for the 2012 Olympiad.
Read more news in this week’s Horse & Hound (12 December 2002), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.