MYTHS were busted when dozens of Portlanders filled a community centre to find out about local preparations for the 2012 Games.

The first of three public drop-in sessions taking place across the borough and Dorchester amazed organisers with its popularity, when people queued up to get in the Community 2000 centre in Easton – 40 people turned up in the first half hour alone.

It followed revelations in the Echo, that proposals for Weymouth during Games-time include closing seafront roads to cars from 10am until 10pm, introducing special ‘gold paper’ parking permits for residents and businesses and ‘hard checkpoints.’ Representatives from the borough’s 2012 Operations Team, Dorset Police, Wild About Weymouth and Portland, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), the fire service, NHS Dorset, the sailing academy, Dorset Lettings and NHS Dorset attended.

Gary Fooks, deputy head of borough 2012 operations, said the aim was to use 2012 ‘as a springboard to sell Dorset Plc and Weymouth and Portland Plc.’ Residents heard that free celebrations would begin in May with the start of the Maritime Mix of more than 20 Cultural Olympiad events, build on July 12 with free Torch Relay evening celebrations on Weymouth Beach and continue from July 27 with a free Live Site, Bayside Festival area, sports arena and ICCI 360 theatre dome.

Avery Wheatley, 81, of Easton said: “One of our concerns is whether there will be traffic problems getting to Dorchester hospital in an emergency.”

Mr Fooks said emergency vehicles would be ‘unrestricted’ on the Olympic Route Network between Portland and Dorchester and added: “The sailing academy is not open to the public as a spectator area, the athletes and officials will be there anyway so it’s not expected to be an additional draw of traffic.”

Window cleaner Michael Hartley, of Southwell, said: “There’re a lot of rumours including residents needing a pass to get back on to Portland.

“Also I work in Weymouth town centre, will I need a gold ticket to get parked on the seafront?”

Mr Fooks dismissed the first rumour as false and said local businesses requiring access to the seafront would be accommodated.

County council director for environment Miles Butler added: “We’ve just got to make sure the people who have necessary journeys can do them but the people who don’t can use the park and ride, public transport, cycle or walk.”

Gwyn Dancy, 68, of Wyke Regis, said: “We’ve heard a lot of rumours so we did the only sensible thing and came here and asked questions.

“It’s been very informative and showed the large amount of organization that’s gone into it.

“I’m not interested in sailing but I shall go and see what’s happening on the seafront out of sheer nosiness.”

• DROP-IN sessions to find out what’s happening during the 2012 Games will continue today in Weymouth.

The event at Weymouth Community Safety centre in Radipole Lane, from 12pm to 3pm then 5pm to 8pm, will enable members of the public to quiz the various agencies involved in staging the sailing events next summer.

A session will be held tomorrow at the Dorford Centre, Dorchester from noon to 3pm and 5pm to 8pm.

We'll be delivering as usual

Owen Cavell, of Brakes food wholesaler which supplies up to 100 businesses in Weymouth and Portland, said the firm had been working with the ODA for the past two years.

He said: “We’re an accredited supplier for Games areas in London.

“I run a site in Southampton and we’ll be delivering to our local businesses in this area as we usually do.

“We’ll have to put on additional resource to do early morning deliveries so we can make sure we’re away from the town centre areas when the restrictions come into play.”