Plans to close The Mall – from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace – for three months this summer are coming under attack from both the British prime minister and the mayor of London.
In 2011 Westminster council gave planning consent for the restrictions around the zone during the period of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the summer Olympic Games.
The first closure is scheduled on 3 June for the Jubilee celebrations and then again on 20 June until mid-September, after the Paralympics close on 9 September.
Present plans are for the area to host the finish of the marathon and the cycling events, and that beach volleyball will take place on Horse Guards Parade. This will mean that one of central London’s main through roads will be shut for three months. In addition a large part of St James’ Park, which attracts millions of visitors a year, will be closed for most of the summer.
The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has said these plans are unacceptable and has asked the London 2012 Organising Committee (Locog), to come back with arrangements that will cause less prolonged disruption.
Locog has chosen the venue so that some of the Olympics’ key sporting events can be televised against the backdrop of symbolic places such as Buckingham Palace.
Transport for London, the police, the military and the ministry of culture are all involved in the organisation of London during the Olympic Games.