Canvey’S Olympic park-and-ride scheme has been scrapped – but Games organisers insisted it was not due to worries about Sadlers Farm.
Just nine days before next week’s opening ceremony, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has abandoned plans to use Waterside Farm Leisure Centre, in Somnes Avenue, as a base to transport spectators to Hadleigh Farm.
Bosses blamed the move on the predicted bad weather – claiming vehicles could churn up the leisure centre’s unpaved car park – but said there were no fears about traffic congestion Waterside Farm was one of four locations picked to host Olympic park-and-rides, alongside Barleylands Farm in Billericay, Case New Holland tractor plant in Basildon, and Sandon in Chelmsford.
Games visitors would have to negotiate Sadlers Farm to reach the site, regardless of whether they arrive by the A13 or A127.
Buses leaving the leisure centre to take spectators to the mountain biking event at Hadleigh Farm on August 11 and 12 would also go via the junction.
The change of plan has left many island residents worried about how they will reach the Olympic venue.
Neville Watson, a councillor for Canvey Winter Gardens, said: “It is a big concern to me how people will get to Hadleigh Farm from Canvey, especially if they are disabled or do not have the means to travel to Basildon.”
Essex County Council has also come under fire for removing scores of Olympic flags on lamp posts around Benfleet station, weeks after putting them up.
A council spokesman said the flags had to be removed because “it was not safe” to put the flags on certain lamp posts, but would not further clarify the position.
Dot Palmer, of Linden Way, Canvey, said: “People here are not getting anything out of this.
“The torch completely bypassed Canvey.
“You can’t expect us to feel positive about the Olympics coming to Castle Point when every effort is being made to exclude us.”
A spokesman for LOCOG was unavailable for comment.