Anger Over Olympic Charges In Weymouth

It's been revealed that 2012 organisers are planning to bar some residents of Weymouth from seeing sailing action for free.

LOCOG confirmed it was seeking planning permission to fence off Nothe Gardens, a public park in the Dorset town which has views of the ceremonial medal run of the sailing events next year.

It is hoped that domestic hopefuls such as Ben Ainslie will be on show on their way to collect medals in events taking place off the Channel coast.

LOCOG said that approval for the plan, which would close off a reported 40,000 square metres of public space, was being sought for ''safety and crowd-control'' reasons.

But that was branded ''nonsense'' by John Burtwistle, the area's Lib Dem Weymouth and Portland Borough councillor, who is leading opposition to the move.

''When the award of the Olympics to London was first made the councils involved down here said they would do everything in their power to promote the games,' ' he said.

''That seems to have been interpreted as allowing LOCOG and the Olympic Delivery Authority to do what they like.

''The bottom line is that they are trying to make Olympic sailing a pay-per-view event in Weymouth.''

He claimed that people would be forced to pay up to £55 to watch the sailing from the gardens - and would only be able to choose between standing and sitting on the grass.

''Are people really going to pay to stand or sit on the grass?'' Mr Burtwistle added.

''Let us hope it doesn't rain.''

A LOCOG spokesman said:

 ''The Nothe Gardens has been selected as a ticketed spectator viewing area due to its view of the field of play. Use of the location is subject to planning consent and final operational details are subject to change.

''Ticketing will provide a managed spectator area, preventing risk and creating a safe, secure environment for viewing. There are other non-ticketed and non-managed vantage points within the Weymouth and Portland area from which spectators will be able to see action from the competition.''

The organising committee has faced strong criticism in recent days over its handling of ticket sales.

The second round of tickets went on sale at 6am on Friday, but the scramble for seats, available on a first-come first-served basis, started with fresh frustration.

London 2012 called on sports fans to have some patience as the system slowed with the surge in demand as would-be buyers went online to snap up the 2.3 million tickets up for grabs in this round of sales.

Many people who had risen early to try to get the best tickets failed to get their online applications to go through.

A London 2012 spokesman denied the website had crashed but said it had been experiencing very high demand.

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