The majority of the attention the the Olympic Games is of course, on London. However we shouldn’t forget that the Sailing will all take place down in Dorset, in Weymouth and around the Portland peninsula
A good friend of mine lives and works in Weymouth and so I spoke to him about what his feelings were around the Olympics. I have also visited the town many times so I am quite familiar with the place. His knee-jerk reaction is very much “it’s a waste of money, they are wasting so much money around the town!”. To be fair, I can see his point.
From odd looking sculptures which look like some terrible alien from a H.G.Wells novel through to an expensive laser show (again, quite science-fictiony) it’s easy to see why some residents might question quite how the available money has been invested in the town.
Also, there is still confusion locally about which roads will be closed during the Olympics and whether there will be access to the main lifting bridge in the town (one of the few ways to cross the harbour entrance without a significant detour upriver). Local cab drivers too are unhappy about the prospect of Black Cabs (Hackney Carriages) being brought in for the period of the Olympics because they are seen to be more “British”. I also don’t think there will be public access to the historical Nothe fort on top of the hill which protected the harbour during the war due to the area being used for the tickets stands to view the sailing events.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. The town has been given a good clean, and the clock tower is looking much better. Also, the newly built Weymouth observation tower looks like a genuine tourist attraction for years to come… let’s just hope it is kept in good repair years down the line.
Additionally there are rumours (which I must stress I cannot substantiate) of shop rents being raised massively due to the games coming to town and the supposed regeneration of the town centre. Like many seaside towns in this country, they have a faded Victorian grandeur about them but the High Street is really struggling. Will two weeks of Olympics really be enough to help keep these struggling shops open? Time will tell, I just hope it is as good for Weymouth as I certainly expect it to be for London.
At time of writing there were still some tickets available for the sailing events on the official LOCOG site, but if you are heading off down there this summer please do help to support the town and the residents by spending your hard earned cash in local shops, bars and services.