London Olympics to cost Mole Valley hundreds of thousands
THE Olympics will cost Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) hundreds of thousands of pounds.
On top of the £15,000 MVDC is spending to host part of the Torch relay, the council has budgeted up to £300,000 on decorations, staffing and events throughout the Games.
Councillors insist they are investing in the future, hoping to take advantage of international exposure, especially when the cycle road races pass through next month.
Councillor Paul Elderton (Lib Dem, Dorking North) said: "As it has worked out the Torch and the cycle race are going to put Dorking on the map; people are going to be interested in visiting after the event. People are going to come to see Box Hill and Dorking as well. It's going to have some afterglow. It should be good for the area and how we live here."
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Councillor Vivienne Michael (Con, Okewood) added: "We are really very excited; I'm delighted that this is happening."
Mr Elderton said the council expects to spend about £300,000 on the Olympics, though officials at Pippbrook refused to give a definite figure when contacted by the Advertiser.
The council is planning a "Big Weekend" for the cycle races on July 28 and 29, and costs will include staff time, cleaning up and providing the big screens and other entertainment on those dates.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) and sponsors are organising and funding most of the entertainment as the Olympic Torch passes through Dorking and Westcott on July 20.
But money put in by MVDC will help fund extra decorations as well as support from stewards and St John Ambulance.
MVDC strategic director Laura Taylor said: "MVDC has allocated a budget of £15,000 for Olympic Torch celebrations and is committed to ensure council taxpayers' money is spent appropriately for this once-in-a-lifetime event."
Tandridge District Council, which is spending less than any other Surrey council, is refusing to pay for the regulation bunting required by Locog, spending its money instead on staffing, some flags for bystanders and re-usable hi-visibility vests.
Reigate and Banstead Borough Council: £15-20,000
Mole Valley District Council: £15,000
Tandridge District Council: £1,500
Elmbridge Borough Council: £0 (the Torch is not passing through Elmbridge)