Traders angry at prospect of Olympic spectators by-passing town centre
BUSINESSES have been left outraged by Olympic organisers' refusal to give spectators a chance to stop in Windsor town centre.
During the Olympic rowing and canoeing events at Dorney Lake 30,000 spectators will descend on the venue each day from July 28 to August 11.
Shuttle buses will pick up those with tickets from the train stations at Windsor and Eton Riverside, Slough and Maidenhead and drop them off at the central transport hub at Windsor Racecourse, in Maidenhead Road. There will be no drop-off point in the town centre.
Martin Miranda, manager at King Edward Court Car Park and an active member of the Windsor District Chamber of Commerce, said: "We have been encouraged by everyone to take this opportunity of the Olympics being at Eton Dorney and we have been working closely with the council to make the most of it.
"We are beginning to get the feeling that the organisers just want to bus spectators in and out of the area as soon as possible. They may say they are on a strict route, but this thing is happening on our doorstep."
The Olympic Delivery Authority and the Royal Borough have been working together to give businesses advice on how they can get the best out of the Olympics while trying to minimise the disruption it will cause. Some businesses are concerned that staff will not be able to get to work and stock delivery will be interrupted, but up until now they had been appeased by the prospect of thousands of extra visitors.
Stephen Le Bras, an accountant and member of the chamber, said: "Visitors will not be coming to the town because they will spend all their time in buses. It is not good news for shopkeepers."
Councillor Simon Dudley, cabinet member with responsibility for the Olympic Games, disagreed with Mr Miranda and said both Windsor and Maidenhead would benefit from the increased footfall.
He said: "We have done a lot to make sure that both towns will have a great deal of opportunity. We are confident that the Olympics will be only of benefit to the town."
A spokesman for the Olympic Delivery Authority said: "The ODA has worked closely with Windsor businesses and the local authority to give spectators every chance to explore the area around the venue, including spending more than £250,000 improving walking and cycling routes, which will enable spectators to move freely between the neighbouring towns."
This article appeared in Reading Chronicle 22 May 12