25th of July, 2011 Bookmark and Share
The events industry and concerned local residents have joined forces to continue the fight to save the District Line connection to Olympia. This united front comes after the end of TFL’s recent consultation period on the closure, about which both groups have raised concerns.

At a meeting today Austen Hawkins CEO of the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), met with local resident and editor of campaign website, Brendan McGrath to discuss how they can work together to continue the fight. Both sides agreed that they need to collaborate to save the connection, and that any reduction in the service could have disastrous impact on residents and the business community.

Austen Hawkins, CEO of AEO comments: “Closing the District Line link to Olympia could kill the events business there, but away from my industry the closure of the line would have a real, and detrimental effect on local residents, particular those with disabilities”.

“Brendan has been fighting the closure on behalf of local residents. He has done an amazing job raising this issue, and has set up the excellent which really highlights the many negative effects of the potential closure as well as telling people what they can do to save the connection. It makes total sense for us to work side by side in saving the line.”

Brendan McGrath, comments: “The events industry is at the very centre of the local economy around Olympia. If they decide that Olympia is no longer a viable venue for them, the knock on effects to the local community would be devastating.

“We have thousands of local people supporting the campaign, but they feel they are not being listened to. Hopefully working with the AEO should make our voice even louder.”

Both Brendan and Austen feel that the consultation process undertaken by TFL hasn’t been organised as well as it should have been.

Says Austen Hawkins, CEO of the AEO; “As an industry we feel we have not been consulted, I only found out about the proposal via a personal contact. Many of my members are based outside of London, but regularly use Olympia for shows. From what consultation there has been, it seems most of it has been done via local posters directing people to an obscure part of the TFL website where they can register their protest. This didn’t give my members outside of West London the choice to offer their views on this issue which is of vital importance to them.”

Says Brendan McGrath; “The consultation process has now been extended on three occasions, each time due to vigorous protests from local groups and politicians. It does make you think that they keep extending the process, because they are determined to push the closure through at any cost”.

The AEO and Brendan McGrath plan to organise a number of meetings with local and London-wide politicians to highlight the importance of the connection to both residents and business. Plans are also being worked out for a public protest and other local events.


For further information and interviewees, please contact:

Andrew McLachlan, MediaZoo – 020 7384 6980/07931 377162
Sion Taylor, MediaZoo – 020 7384 6980/07768 372714
Andrew McLachlan
Media Zoo