STRI provides a smooth ride for Greenwich
When 55,000 equestrian fans take their places for the Olympic Eventing, running from 28 to 31 July, in Greenwich Park few will realise the scale of the project that transformed a Royal Park to a world class sports venue.
The challenge encompassed 12,000 square metres of course to be brought up to specification on a 6.2km course that winds through a historic public park, Roman antiquity and rare acid grasslands.
The job started for STRI, with Lee Penrose leading the project, in 2009 when we won the commission to manage the project and deliver the venue. Detailed plans were made to develop the course while maintaining the unique elements of the park. An extensive consultation process was undertaken with local residents and this informed many of the plans for remedial works after the games.
Work started on site in September 2010 with the excavation of a Roman temple that had already been visited by Channel 4’s’Time Team’ and a number of Universities. The work was undertaken in partnership with the Museum of London Archaeology with great care taken to protect the historic site.
A tailor-made GPS system was developed to track work vehicles around the park, within an accuracy of 2 cm, to ensure that approved routes were adhered to. The same routes will also be used to develop the extensive legacy programme that will see the park returned to its original state with an additional 2.3 hectares of rare acid grasslands by 2014.
Feedback from riders in a test event held in 2011 was very positive, with many commenting on the challenging nature of Sue Benson’s course. The course is now ready for the games and STRI has been focused on ensuring that everything is perfect for this summer’s games.
Commenting on work Lee Penrose, from STRI said: “Greenwich Park has proven a unique challenge. The high profile of the games, varied stakeholders and scale of the job, has proven a career highlight for me. It has been three years hard work, admittedly in beautiful surroundings.”
Situated on top of a hill, with sweeping views of London, Greenwich is the oldest Royal Park and covers 74 hectares. It is home to a small herd of Fallow and Red deer. The Park is part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site and host to the Meridian Line.