‘Disappointment’ over convoy mode plan for Olympic torch route

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THE OLYMPIC torch will go through the Pevensey half of Wallsend Road on the back of a bus and a local councillor says it is a ‘big disappointment’.

A torch bearer will run through the High Street at Pevensey Bay and down on to Wallsend Road on July 17.

They will go along the road carrying the torch but will stop and switch to convoy mode just north of the level crossing, rather than carrying the torch up to the Esso garage roundabout as originally planned.

Locog say they changed it earlier this year but Pevensey Parish Council only found out about the changes last week.

The council says it is disappointed the torch will not be carried through Pevensey and feels the village and its residents along the route will miss out.

Maurice Gilbert, vice chair of Pevensey Parish Council, said, “This is a big disappointment, especially at such a late stage.

“I am told by Cllr Grout that there are people on Wallsend Road who have planned parties and I think it will be a big disappointment to them.

“It is cutting their village out of the route completely and at a very late stage. At this late stage it may be difficult to make changes but we will not give up.”

Pevensey Parish Councillors were due to meet with Wealden District Council as the Gazette went to press and Cllr Gilbert said they would probably contact their MP Greg Barker in a bid to get the arrangements for the torch changed back.

This is the second time the village has had a battle over the Olympic Torch. Earlier this year locals from Pevensey Bay signed a petition to get the torch to come through the High Street in Pevensey Bay rather than going down Richmond Road.

Stephan Ritchie, from the Beach Tavern pub in the village, organised the petition and Pevensey Parish Council also campaigned for the route to be changed.

They were successful in making the change and Cllr Gilbert said, “We were delighted that was changed to come through Pevensey Bay village and we hope we will be able to have these changes made too, to allow the people of Pevensey to also see the torch.”

A Locog spokesperson explained the point at which they switched to convoy had been changed because the police had highlighted a major junction.

The spokesperson said, “The torchbearer change point was moved slightly, earlier this year. This was changed so that the torchbearer would not run through a major junction.”

Wealden District Council confirmedit had been changed for ‘operational reasons’.