MORE than 100 residents packed into a heated meeting to hear plans for a 2012 ticketed spectator site in Weymouth.

There was standing room only at the Sea Cadet Training Centre for the Friends of Nothe Gardens’ meeting about the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic sailing events.

Simon Williams, the newly-titled head of Weymouth and Portland 2012 Operations, gave a presentation to around 130 people, new Weymouth and West Dorset council chief executive David Clarke, Councillor John Birtwistle and PC Sam Hillier of the Nothe Safer Neighbour-hood Team.

Mr Williams said following borough council approval, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) was considering using Nothe Gardens as a ticketed area for 4,600 people a day, for the Olympics. Tickets will be priced from £20-£55 a day.

A public consultation is expected to take place once plans have been confirmed.

Mr Wiliams said LOCOG was in talks with the civic society about using Nothe Fort for hospitality, while the Stone Pier would remain freely accessible, although marshalled for safety.

He said LOCOG would have to ‘invest significantly’ to provide a live screen, ensure security around the Nothe, upgrade footpaths and toilet facilities, and ensure the area is returned in its original state.

He dismissed the idea that the area should stay as it is and be marshalled, adding: “Then it would be uncontrolled access, we could have 10,000 people a day, which would be detrimental to local residents, a problem for the borough council and the police.”

Residents asked why the ticket money could not stay local and Mr Williams said LOCOG was dependant on ticket sales and sponsors.

Wyke resident Colin Dawe said: “We’re talking about legacy, you’re talking about upgrading toilets as a result of this.”

Mr Williams said plans were in progress for residents to park their cars for free opposite the Nothe Tavern during the Games.

He said: “The vehicles coming will be bringing pre-event temporary buildings, at no point could they be bringing in lorries.”

Mr Williams reminded residents that Nothe Gardens would only be accessible to ticket-holders during Games time, and the deadline for ticket applications was April 26, ahead of sales from March 15.

Resident Frank Becker said: “A lot of the changes we’ve already seen have been marvellous.

“It would be churlish of the town not to recognise that, we as a small town are getting a fantastic opportunity.”

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