BUSINESSES in Greenwich Town Centre have complained of a slump in business since the start of London 2012.
A long-hoped-for boost from Olympic visitors has failed to materialise as spectators are marshalled from the railway station along a barrier-lined route to Greenwich Park.
Shops and cafes are having to watch on as spectators are guided past their business, with Olympic venue rules inhibiting their ability to promote themselves directly to the passing trade.
Managers from Greenwich Hospital, landlords of the market and nearby properties, attempted to hand out flyers yesterday but were instructed not to do so.
Non-Olympic footfall is also thought to be down because of long predicted, but not yet materialised, traffic problems deterring people and TFL road signs saying to "avoid [the] area."
Amy Mccondach from Cedarlia in College Approach says that the shop's sales have been "significantly dented since the barriers have gone up." She called on LOCOG to install a crossing within the barrier so potential customers can across the road.
Dorothy May Thomas from Greenwich Market jewellers, Autumn and May, has written a letter to local MP Nick Raynsford saying:
"A lot of the restaurants have increased the buying of food for the period and they to have lost Business this last WEEKEND BY OVER 80%." She says her own business was down thousands of pounds last weekend compared with the previous one.
Other businesses located in the market or on the surrounding roads, such as San Miguel, Red Door Cafe, Beaddoir, Beauty and the Bib and Artyglobe have taken to Twitter to plan a fightback to the slump.
A Royal Borough of Greenwich spokesperson said: "LOCOG are responsible for the barriers in Greenwich Town Centre and, at our request, they have left gaps so that visitors can cross over roads and enjoy all the shops and independent traders around Greenwich Market and town centre.
"We have not received any formal approaches from stallholders in Greenwich, but we have noticed that restaurants in Greenwich appear to benefitting from an upsurge in trade from visitors to the Olympics.
"The Royal Borough of Greenwich is committed to ensuring that our local businesses benefit from the Games. That is why we have 160 volunteers handing out information to visitors which signpost our shopping areas and help ensure that they enjoy a great day out in Greenwich. We hope the thousands of visitors in Greenwich seeing our wonderful attractions, who might not othwerwise have come, will lead to a boost in visitors and spend for years to come."
A LOCOG spokesperson said: “The barriers are put in place to manage the crowds of spectators making their way towards Greenwich Park. We are doing what we can to minimise the impact on businesses in Greenwich and where it is safe and practical to do so we will remove the barriers once competition has begun.
"Spectators are also being encouraged to enjoy all that Greenwich has to offer whilst they are in the area.”
Greenwich.co.uk spoke to Greenwich Council leader, Chris Roberts, in Greenwich town centre today about the impact the Olympics is having on local businesses. Listen to his comments: