A cash boost to mitigate the strain on public services has been welcomed ahead of next year’s Olympic Games in which Wimbledon will host the tennis.

Merton Council will receive £700,000 from the Greater London Authority to cover its share of the cost of hosting the Olympic Games, despite only asking for £500,000.

Councillor Martin Whelton, cabinet member for communities and culture, said: “We are pleased with the settlement we have been given in terms of what we have asked for.

“We are proud of hosting an Olympic event and it is only right that the borough is compensated for the time that officers have to dedicate into projects like the Olympic Route network.”

A council spokeswoman was unable to provide a breakdown of how the money would be used, but said it included the cost of Merton leading the South Zone Borough Group Support Unit.

The unit, which includes Wandsworth, Kingston and Richmond, is an information exchange network with Wandsworth, Richmond and Kingston councils on how to handle an increased demand for services during the Olympics and the Paralympic Games.

She added: “The funding will also allow us to cover additional costs such as increased parking enforcement, which will be incurred due to the Olympic tennis event taking place in Wimbledon.”

Meanwhile, plans for Wimbledon's games lanes for next summer's Olympic tennis event were describes as "madness", writes Jack Zorab.

The lanes should allow a quicker passage between Olympic venues for athletes and officials but Merton's London Assembly Member, Richard Tracey, could cause traffic problems for fans and commuters.

They will run daily from 7am to 7pm from July 28 to August 5. Mr Tracey said: "My objection is that the lanes are in operation from very early in the morning, but play at Wimbledon doesn't start until midday.

"The Olympic event will not create as much traffic as the championships.

"It lasts for nine days as opposed to two weeks - so to put in special restrictions is a bit much."

Mr Tracey (Conservative) put his objections to the Mayor at question time at City Hall.

The Mayor's written response stressed the games lanes measures were needed to guarantee journey times for the 'games family' - which is defined by Olympic organisers as people who are critical to the running of the games but includes the media and games partners.

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