The Olympic equestrian competitions are to take place in Greenwich Park following a vote last week

Planning permission has been granted for the Olympic equestrian competitions – eventing, dressage and showjumping – to be held in Greenwich Park in 2012, despite a well-orchestrated campaign of protest by the likes of historian David Starkey.

After a four-hour meeting, the council voted in favour by 10 votes to 2. However, they have imposed 42 onerous caveats on London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), to ensure that the park’s historic features are preserved and the environmental impact of building a cross-country course and 23,000-seater arena is taken seriously on what is a World Heritage site.

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Sebastian Coe, chairman of the Games, said: ‘The message is loud and clear. This great Park is on loan to the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and the people of the world.  We must return it to the residents of Greenwich, to Londoners and visitors in the same condition, or better, than it was loaned to us. We take this responsibility seriously.’

The site was chosen when London bid for the Games in order to fulfil the criterion of being within 30 minutes of the main media hub. The spectacular backdrop of Greenwich’s historic buildings and the Thames was another key factor. This will be the first time the cross-country phase of the eventing has been so close to the Olympic nucleus. In 1948, the equestrian events were held at Aldershot.