Petersfield’s attempt to be accepted as a bidding venue for the 2018 Winter Olympics has failed – and disappointed organisers are blaming the town council.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has just announced that Annecy (France), Munich (Germany) and PyeongChang (Republic of Korea) will fight it out to host the games leaving Petersfield out in the cold … or rather not.
The lack of suitable winter conditions was cited by the IOC as one of the reasons Petersfield’s bid would not get any further.
But bid leader, haberdasher and jeweller Matt Tress, believes the real reason the town’s bid failed is the intransigence of the town council.
"We admit we don’t get that much snow,” said Tress. “But we could have imported some had the town council agreed to fund it. The lake gets quite icy on occasions which would have been perfect for the ice skating and speed skating with only a tiny amount of collateral damage.
“Statistical research carried out by the guy who wakes up in my shop doorway every morning suggested that fewer than six skaters would lose their life by falling through the ice and freezing to death.
“When you consider the commercial benefits to my shop, I mean, the town as a whole that is a small price to pay. Nobody at the council seems to realise how important it is to drive traffic past my shop.”
IOC spokesperson Tarquin Brown-Envelope commented: “While Mr Tress did impress the visiting dignitaries with the tour of the heath, a visit to the now sadly defunct Teddy Bear Museum and a meal at JSW, we did feel expecting world-class ski jumpers to use the children’s slide at the heath was asking a little much.
“We fully accept that Butser Hill is a popular sledging venue for youngsters during the three days the area has snow every year but we felt the logistics of shipping in an entire Olympic village and competitors at something like 60 minutes notice might have been beyond Mr Tress and his work experience cashier.”
Kevin Itch, a spokesman for Petersfield Town Council, said: “Don’t quote me on this but Matt Tress is off his head!”