Barking bids to host London 2012 shooting
THEY may be a 'third way' for London 2012 organisers over the thorny issue of the venue for shooting events.
CONTROVERSIAL: The proposed London 2012 shooting venue at the Royal Barracks in Greenwich has been criticised for its 'lack of legacy' and rising costs
Locog remain in talks about whether to move the event from the proposed venue at the iconic Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich.
Critics claim the cost of the temporary venue - estimated at £42 million and rising - offers no long-term legacy for the sport.
British Shooting want to stage competitions at their headquarters in the Surrey town of Bisley, claiming investment there would benefit the sport for decades to come.
But Locog counter claim that Bisley, the shooting venue for the 1908 Olympics and 2002 Commonwealth Games, is just too far away from the Olympic Village and would undermine their ambition of a compact Games.
However, Barking and Dagenham Council believe they have the ideal compromise.
"London 2012 must be about lasting legacy and regeneration. We are in the heart of the East End and it would seem odd to me for Barking and Dagenham to not benefit from the Olympics coming to east London," said chief executive Rob Whiteman.
"By bringing the shooting event here we would be able to create real interest in the Olympics in the borough and create a shooting venue that local people can use after the Games.
A proposed 350-acre plot, which occupies a 1.5 mile strip on the Thames near the Ford car plant in Dagenham, only joined the race to host the shooting when the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the agency responsible for the Games' infrastructure, asked Barking and Dagenham to come up with a fall-back plan last autumn.
Bisley is still lobbying hard but their facility needs a major upgrade to stage Olympic events.
But its backers say the competitors can all be accommodated on site and point out that a number of other sports, such as canoeing, rowing and sailing, are being staged away from Stratford at Dorney Lake and Weymouth respectively. They also claim that improving Bisley's facilities will cost only £28m, £2m less than Whiteman's proposal for Barking Riverside but his site is less than five miles from Stratford, with good transport links.
However, Barking's bid is likely to miss its target while Bisley's fans have angered too many powerful names with their tactics.
The International Olympic Committee have already given London 2012 organisers a deadline of this month to finalise their venues.