Britain is currently holding the world’s greatest sporting event. But, despite being in its seventh day, London 2012 has not created a surge in local business. In fact, many are referring to London as a ‘ghost town’.
Billed as a good thing for the area due to the regeneration and investment by multi-million companies and investors, the Olympics have been praised for the benefits they have brought to Stratford and the surrounding areas.
Local businesses have complained about the heavy handed advertising restrictions imposed by LOCOG, the Olympic organising committee. Lance Forman, owner of the famous fish restaurant Forman’s, spoke on LBC 97.3 of how LOCOG officials had ripped down signage directing customers to his pop up restaurant, situated near the Olympic park.
H Forman and Son, which formerly resided on the current Olympic site, was forced to relocate after London was awarded the Games.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson endeavoured to investigate the situation calling it ‘outrageous’. He added, “Lance is the great salmon king, he is the man. Get to Lance Forman’s right by the Olympic Park. You’ve got a view over the canal into the Olympic Park.”
Other local business owners, including Caribbean Scene’s Patrick Marche, also phoned the talk radio station detailing the scarcity of business. Despite being located next to the Stratford Theatre Royal and with a stand in Westfield Stratford City, the restaurant had not seen an influx of customers. Marche did say that the location had drawn some high profile visitors though such as Nigerian athletes and Portia Simpson the Jamaican President.
London Taxi drivers who protested about the Games lanes have also reported a slump in business, with some saying that fares are down by 50% on last year.
Many commuters have even remarked on the emptiness of public transport. @caztellations tweeted, “‘please use all available doors.’ He forgot to add ‘all five of you.’#Tfltoday”.
Announcements voiced by Boris Johnson encouraging people to avoid travel chaos in the capital during the Olympics have been removed from public transport. TFL have denied this has anything to do with reportedly low numbers of visitors to London.