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UEFA Euro 2020 Fanzone Greenwich

Notes on a Meeting with GLA UEFA Fanzone Team on 20th August 2019

Representatives of EGRA, along with those from the Westcombe Society, the Greenwich Society, the Blackheath Society and the Friends of Greenwich Park met members of the GLA team working on the UEFA Fanzone planned for Greenwich Park next June and July. This will involve the closing off of a large swathe of the Park behind the National Maritime Museum from the road up to the area south of the boating pond. Capacity is set at 30,000 with big screens as well as food and drink sales including alcohol. Matches are scheduled to begin at 14.00, 17.00 and 20.00 though the intention is only to show games involving home nation teams

Why Greenwich? This appears to be a pre-condition of UEFA which requires a Fanzone site which reflects the City involved. There will be similar Fanzones in other host cities. They will apparently form part of the television coverage – essentially, filming people watching matches on large screens. A more mundane explanation seems to be that Hyde Park which may have been the original planned venue now hosts a full summer concert season and has no room for the Fanzone.

The Fanzone will require Planning Permission from RBG as it will be in place for two months. This is projected to go before the Planning Committee in mid-September. It is unlikely that it will be turned down so the important thing is to ensure that problems are ironed out in the early stages. The GLA is responsible for the event and will be funding it, although many of the elements will be subcontracted to specialist companies.

The issues that we discussed were:

  • Consultation – the original notice of the event seems to have only been circulated in a few streets close to the Park. Blackheath, Westcombe and the riverside area of East Greenwich were not included and knowledge of the impending closure of a chunk of the Park is very low.

  • Ticketing – This will be an all-ticket event with tickets available free online. A maximum of four tickets per person will be issued and local residents will have some priority in the ballot.

  • Travel management and access to the Park – there is currently no movement plan. The suggestion is that participants will be encouraged to come to Greenwich early and take in the sights before the match. Similarly, there is no dispersal plan for moving people out of Greenwich after matches.

  • Capacity of public transport – although all forms of public transport are at capacity most of the time, this is intended to be only accessible by public transport. The GLA team mentioned extra carriages although this won't help the DLR. We pointed out the anomaly of Maze Hill station being in Zone 3 while Greenwich, Cutty Sark and North Greenwich are in Zone 2.

  • Ability of Greenwich to deal with additional numbers of tourists – there was general concern that this event could have a damaging effect on local businesses if regular visitors are discouraged by the prospect of 30,000 football fans in the area. The impact of the Olympic people movement strategy which prevented visitors from accessing Greenwich Town Centre was also highlighted.

  • Other Closures - adjacent areas of the Park (particularly the Wolfe statue iconic viewpoint and One Tree Hill) will be closed during matches so that unticketed members of the public cannot see the big screens from other vantage points.

  • Security – both inside and outside the venue.

  • Anti-social behaviour – the problems generated by London Marathon spectators provide some guide to possible issues.

  • Sale of alcohol – there was general concern about the sale of alcohol inside the Fanzone with the only strategy being closing the bars at half time for the 20.00 Kick Off matches. Fans will not be permitted to bring any alcohol into the Fanzone.

  • Use of diesel generators – most activities will need to be powered by diesel generators. Although bio-diesel will be the fuel of choice, this will still impact seriously on our notoriously poor air quality. The number of generators required is apparently still unknown and there is no plan for carbon offsetting.

  • Noise – matches will be broadcast with commentary so it will be noisy and there is no way of mitigating this.

  • Community days – when the Fanzone is not in use for football the plan is to offer it to local groups for performances. When no activities at all are scheduled the gates will be opened so that park users can access the regular paths.

  • Build time and use of Blackheath Circus Field – building materials will be assembled and stored on Blackheath before being brought into the Park. This will necessitate HGV parking and manoeuvring.

  • Parking inside and outside the Park – there are no plans to stop the existing parking in the Park apart from a small number of spaces near the Wolfe statue.

  • Reinstatement of the Park after the event – there is every likelihood that the Fanzone area will need to be closed for the remainder of the summer in order that the grass can be replaced (as after the Olympics). This would be disruptive to regular tourism and local visitors.

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