REDBRIDGE: Olympic Torch date announced as Games branding hots up

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Schoolchildren from Uphall Primary in Ilford celebrate the Olympic torch coming to Redbridge Schoolchildren from Uphall Primary in Ilford celebrate the Olympic torch coming to Redbridge

THE OLYMPIC torch will come to Redbridge just five days before the Games begin, and details of the Olympic branding of the borough are beginning to emerge.

The torch will arrive at the Redbridge Cycling Centre in Barkingside on July 22 as part of an 8,000 mile journey from Land’s End to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.

While the council says there will be ‘community hotspots’ where people can gather to watch the torch pass, the official route through Redbridge is not due to be announced until the spring.

But planning applications have been submitted to erect hundreds of Olympic lamp post banners and flags on some of the borough’s busiest streets, and it is possible that these streets could form the torch route.

Among the roads earmarked for special treatment are the High Street and Cambridge Park in Wanstead, where the council wants to put up 48 banners.

Geoff Horsnell from the Wanstead Society said: “I’m not that happy about the idea of having banners all the way along the High Street.

“But if they are being paid for by money which can only be spent on Olympic projects, then so be it.”

In George Lane and the High Road in South Woodford, an application has gone in to erect 97 banners.

Celia Wynne, manager of Allens Pharmacy in George Lane, said: “I don’t mind the banners going up, and it would be quite exciting to have the torch come down here.

“I just hope the money to pay for all this doesn’t come out of funds which could have been spent on more important things like libraries or schools.”

There are similar plans for banners in Barkingside, Gants Hill, Hainault, Goodmayes and Chadwell Heath.

It seems likely that the decorations will be paid for out of a £50,000 pot of cash awarded to Redbridge by the Greater London Authority (GLA).

The GLA will be making the same sum available to every London borough to purchase street dressing from The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

Council Area Committees will also be asked to consider contributing funds from their budgets to pay LOCOG for items including official Olympic bunting.

A spokeswoman For LOCOG was unable to confirm whether the streets named in the application would be part of the torch route.

The Guardian has asked Redbridge Council to comment.

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