Lord Coe states in his letter, “[I]t is simply not possible to go everywhere due to geographical and time constraints.”
The Torch Relay has to travel between Basingstoke and Kings Worthy; The campaign’s purpose was to convince LOCOG that the transfer should be through towns and villages rather than along the M3, as it is currently shown on the Torch Relay map.
Over 2500 signatures were collected on petition forms during a campaign run over Christmas. Whitchurch’s mayor, Cllr Barry Jackman was a leader of the campaign. People all along the B3400 in this area and south through Sutton Scottney and Wonston Parish took part. There is estimated to be over 15,000 people in the area.
The letter leaves unanswered what the route between the announced locations of Basingstoke and Kings Worthy will be. Lord Coe states that street level detail is to be announced “later this year” and that residents should work with the “local authority to agree to adopt a part of the route”.
Lord Coe continues, “I recognise that this will be a disappointing response…given the efforts that they have invested in the campaign to alter the route.”
Campaigners have replied to Lord Coe’s letter asking for clarity and to ensure the petition was not misunderstood. A response is awaited.
Lord Coe also said in his letter, “The locations directly on the route were selected after extensive UK-wide consultation with representatives from each Nation and Region over the last 2 years…involving local authorities and local representatives of the tourism, heritage, sustainability, culture, education and sports sectors…”
This version of events was contested by our Hampshire County Council Councillor Tom Thacker. He told the campaigners, “HCC was informed by LOCOG last July about the route of the Olympic Torch through the county and was led to believe that there would be some opportunity, at a local level, to ‘tweak’ the route.”
Cllr Thacker continued, “This however has proved, in most circumstances, not to be the case; as we discovered that LOCOG’s definition of consultation did not extend any further than them telling us where the Torch would be going.”