RECOMMENDATIONS have been made to turn part of North Weald Airfield into a giant car park for the London Olympics.

Under plans due to be considered by the district council's cabinet, space will be made for 3,500 cars on the airfield where a park and ride system of coaches will take people to the White Water Canoe Centre on the Waltham Abbey/Broxbourne border.

Epping Forest District Council, which owns the airfield, has promised the car park will not affect aviation activity or the weekend market, although it will have to pay out £4,000 in compensation for the loss of sports car and HGV activities.

The district council will not be paid itself as the Olympic Delivery Authority, which would create the car park, is a not-for-profit organisation.

North Weald parish councillor Peter Collins said: “There's mixed feelings on it. Personally I think it's good North Weald should be supporting the Olympics, certainly in one way or another. There are many people with a similar opinion.

“In some quarters there is some doubt that if you allow it to happen it might act as an encouragement for it to be used for other major park and ride requirements.

“It has been mooted in the past for park and ride for Stansted (Airport) although when it didn't get its second runway that idea drifted away.

“There's also the idea of doing it up for the trains and that's also a concern. It could open up the door for other things. However, we feel supporting the Olympics is a good thing.”

The park and ride route, which will operate for around two to three weeks during the 2012 Olympics, will run up the A414 to the M11, down to the M25 and through Waltham Abbey.

Mr Collins said it was important the route was enforced adding: “What we don't want is thousands of cars drifting through the village.”

The car park idea is recommended for approval by officers who state refusal could mean: “The council may be seen as not supporting the Olympic Games.”

A previous scheme to allow a large campsite on the airfield for 2012 was rejected last year over concerns it could interfere with aviation.

The new scheme will be discussed on Monday, October 25, at 7pm at the Civic Offices, in Epping High Street.