Olympic talks are

By Ted JeoryA PUBLIC forum that will discuss Essex's part in the 2012 London Olympic bid was dismissed last night as a "waste of time talking-shop".Colchester borough and Essex county councillor, Julie Young, said councillors and other civic leaders were becoming detached from the real issues that affected taxpayers.

By Ted Jeory

A PUBLIC forum that will discuss Essex's part in the 2012 London Olympic bid was dismissed last night as a "waste of time talking-shop".

Colchester borough and Essex county councillor, Julie Young, said councillors and other civic leaders were becoming detached from the real issues that affected taxpayers.

The next quarterly gathering of the East Essex Area Forum meets at a hotel in Colchester on January 13 when councillors, police, fire and health bosses will discuss a range of issues, including social care and community strategies.


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But also on the agenda will be London's £30million Olympic bid and how the county can become involved in providing facilities.

Essex County Council held a seminar in September after the Government threw its weight behind the capital's attempt to host the Olympics for the first time since 1948.

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Since then a working group has been trying to drive forward the Essex agenda with venues like the Great Leighs Equestrian Park possibly earmarked to host horse events and accommodation at Essex University used for training camps.

If the capital gets the Olympic Games, it is anticipated tourists will flock to and through the region via Stansted Airport and the Haven Gateway, boosting the local economy.

But all this remains a "what if" scenario, according to Mrs Young, who said: "I spent New Year's Eve e-mailing the borough council on behalf of an elderly woman in Conifer Close about a faulty street light in Conifer Close.

"She was extremely worried about it, but then it became a ding-dong between the borough and county councils with each saying it was someone else's responsibility.

"Now that's where these forums should be having an effect, by taking a bottom-up approach and being an agent to bring the various tiers of councils together to smooth out problems.

"With issues like the Olympic bid on the table, they just become a waste of time and live up to people's perceptions of talking-shops."

But a spokesman for Essex County Council, which pays for the forums, said: "It's only right that such a huge opportunity like the Olympic bid is on the agenda.

"Not everybody has the chance to come to County Hall and that's why these forums were established – to take the issues out to the people.

"They are an important part of letting people have their say and things like the Olympics, which could create jobs, deserve to be discussed in the open."

The meeting will take place at the Holiday Inn, Eight Ash Green, on January 13 at 2pm.

ted.jeory@eadt.co.uk

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