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I will know precisely who is to blame when £45million is effectively poured into the sand at the feet of our sport and the Olympics deliver nothing for shooting in the UK. It is indescribably painful to watch the sport you love lose out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But I will at least know that I did everything I could have done for my sport.

I am in the fortunate position of owning a prime piece of land inside the M25, literally on the south bank of the Thames at Dartford. I run my own clayshooting club on it and from 2005 onwards I have placed it at the disposal of British Shooting as an alternative legacy shooting venue, so that our sport might benefit from the 2012 Olympics.

British Shooting or, more specifically, the National Smallbore Rifle Association (NSRA), has spent the past four years desperately trying to drag the 2012 shooting venue to Bisley, despite repeated and insistent rejections from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) on the grounds of distance, and at the same time rejecting all other possible alternatives. Bisley is much further away from the Olympic Village than LOCOG wants, and while it has a venue at Woolwich, it doesn’t need to compromise. We can only speculate about the reasons for the NSRA’s intransigence.

My land at Dartford offers both British Shooting and LOCOG exactly what they are both searching for. A safe, open space, close to the Olympic Village, highly accessible to thousands of visitors, cost efficient and a permanentlegacy for the sport and the local community. The trouble is that because it is so perfect, Bisley sees it as a threat to the survival of Bisley.

The land is available in a 50-year trust to British Shooting for it to run and manage in the interests of the sport. This is specifically to ensure that noone can accuse me of trying to profit from public funds. If direct reinvestment in Bisley using Olympic money is their goal,and it is unavailable to them, you’d have thought British Shooting would leap at the chance to achieve the legacy at Dartford in the first instance and reinvest money indirectly through increased participation and big European and international competitions.

Sadly, the NSRA is so devoid of both political and business sense that neither will now happen. The Woolwich planning application is in and we are as little as 12 weeks away from the sport of shooting having to watch upwards of £45million, the largest sum ever spent on shooting in the UK in one go, deliver a one-off competition and not one iota of enduring legacy for the thousands of sporting enthusiasts around the country. The sport has been let down.

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  • glosterbill

    Two years ago I forecast that there would never be a legacy for the shooting sports.
    The simple reason is that the present British Government is dedicated to eradicating all uk forms of shooting in their entirety.
    Why?, just pure prejudice against shooting: if they had their way, the sport would not have featured in the olympic array at all, but their hand was forced by the imperatives of the olympic movement as a whole.

  • Neil

    I would remind people the NSC at Bisley was the original (and natural) destination for the 2012 shooting events. Relocated further into the city only when the bid team received feedback that the London Games were looking too fractured and spread out to be looked upon favourably. Any relocation for any reason should only be back to the original plans. Introducing or suggesting any other location at this point in the timeline can only be for reasons of a dubious and self serving nature!

    On what basis is this particular club at Dartford suggesting it is on a better footing, or has the interests of all shooting disciplines (not just clay shooting) as its primary motive rather than the enhancement of its own facilities? Tell you what I know someone with a few acres of appropriate land just North of London – why not locate the shooting events there instead?

    No, The National Shooting Centre at Bisley should be the only location hosting any Olympic shooting events. Unfortunately – not going to happen.

  • Marvin Brown

    Sadly Richard’s loyalty to the NSRA and Bisley is misguided and it would seem like the majority of Bisley supporters he has missed the point entirely. Bisley was never a viable option, as for Dartford, certainly there are concerns but the rifle and pistol facilities would NOT be mothballed at the end of the games. As a former army marksman, Richard’s idiotic suggestion that “It was Bisley or a demolition of the facilities afterwards” is abhorrent to me, what more is there to be said?!

  • Richard

    I’m not sure what this rant at the NSRA is hoping to achieve. Dartford is not a viable option either.
    Certainly your clay club will receive some uprated facilities, but the rifle and pistol facilities would be mothballed at the end of the games.

    The state of rifle and pistol shooting in the UK means the Lord Roberts Centre is only just viable.

    A facility on the wrong side of London – further from Heathrow, the South (M3 corridor) and the West (M4 corridor) than Bisley would simply not be sustainable.

    The only viable option was a sustainable extension and uprating of facilities at Bisley.
    The custom is not there to keep a whole new facility in business so close to Bisley (i.e. in the South East/London area).

    It was Bisley, or a demolition of the facilities afterwards. Dartford’s new R&P facilities would have seen the same fate as those at Woolwich will.