London Spy

£5k sandcastle destroyed over safety fears

London Spy

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A sandcastle that was built to mark 100 days until the start of the Olympics, had to be demolished within hours of being built because of health and safety fears.

The castle on Weymouth beach took four days to build and cost £5,000, but once photographs were taken for publicity purposes, it was destroyed by a mechanical digger.

Olympic organisers Locog paid for the structure, but feared that it could topple onto somebody and injure them.

They also considered fencing in the sandcastle, but that would have required the employment of security guards to make sure nobody tried to get too close to it.

Instead, Weymouth and Portland borough council, who will host the sailing event at the Games, said that the motivation for building the castle was simply to gain an 'iconic photo image.'

"Images of the sandcastle have generated media interest across the globe and have helped to secure significant coverage for Weymouth and Portland and Dorset," a spokesperson said.

"Paid for by Locog, the image has secured tourism coverage valued way in excess of the cost of building the sandcastle and staging the photo shoot."

Simon Williams, head of the Weymouth and Portland 2012 operations team for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, added: "It was an organisational decision. We took it down because it was constructed in a special way and we couldn't have just left it there in case it fell on a young child. We would have been criticised if that had been the case."

The designer of the castle, Mark Anderson, said he was aware his structure would be swiftly removed: "Demolishing it was all part of the plan because there would have been health and safety issues.

"People could have injured themselves on the council's land so there would be no way we could leave something like that."

However, some local businessmen admitted they were a bit miffed by the decision.

"It reminds me a bit like the programme Twenty Twelve, except this hasn't been made up," Craig Willis, owner of the Wilton Guest House in Weymouth said.

"It sounds like health and safety has gone a bit over the top but I suppose they have their reasons for demolishing it."

Georgie Rushforth, of the Lodmoor Premier Inn, said: "I thought the sandcastle was a good idea, I don't really understand why it was demolished. It's a bit overdramatic and I think health and safety has gone overboard."

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