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Planning & Development

Leyton Marsh: It's a joke to a judge

"I have tickets to one of the Basketball matches!" joked the judge hearing the application for an injunction by the ODA and LVRPA at the High Court against those protesting the construction of a Basketball Facility.


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Statement by Save Leyton Marsh Campaign in response to ODA's injunction

Statement by the Save Leyton Marsh group published on Indymedia. This is accompanied on Indymedia by a statement of support for the campaign from two Leabridge Ward Hackney Councillors, Ian Rathbone and Deniz Oguzkanli, detailing the failures of the ODA to communicate with them and the people living around Leyton Marsh. The behaviour of the ODA is reminiscent of its treatment of the residents of Leabank Square.

The ODA claim they have "no option" but to take legal action against this peaceful protest in order to fulfil their obligations "to provide practice facilities for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes". This is fundamentally untrue. Eleven questions were put to them in December by a number of local councillors and still remain unanswered, including why the ODA chose not to utilize one of several alternative sites that would not require destroying this much loved green space.

Kelmscott Leisure Centre is less than 10 minutes from Leyton Marsh with recently refurbished basketball courts suitable for disabled athletes, it will be shut for the duration of the Games. Walthamstow dog track is a disused brownfield site within 30 minutes of the Olympic park - specified as a requirement for the training facility. These both appear to be reasonable alternatives, but whether these sites were even considered has not been forthcoming despite requests for the selection process to be made available to the public.

Since planning permission was granted for these two huge 11m high 3 storey structure on Metropolitan Open Land, the ODA have refused to engage with local people and their very serious concerns relating not just to loss of green space but alarming health and safety irregularities arising from the construction. From the very beginning, local campaigners pointed out to the authorities concerned that Leyton Marsh was used for landfill and was known to contain unexploded bombs from WWII. Unsurprisingly work had to be halted during the first week of excavations when a bomb was discovered, workers were evacuated but not the surrounding area.

The ODA's own injunction mentions the discovery of asbestos on site, which is highly hazardous to health. Three of the five samples taken from the site survey prior to work commencing had such high concentrations of lead that they constituted 'hazardous waste', it is therefore extremely troubling that the planning application sought to avoid an Environmental Impact Assessment by claiming that only 15 cm of topsoil would be removed. Ian Ansell from Waltham Forest planning department has confirmed that the ODA have already excavated to at least 50cm in breach of their planning permission. Mounds of exposed soil several metres high containing significant concentrations of rubble are piled all around the site.

Whilst Lea Valley Park Authority claim that they are concerned with unlawful use of their land and are "keen to safeguard Leyton Marsh", they saw fit to let the majority of Leyton Marsh for a huge construction project requiring significant concrete foundations, in the process destroying a habitat that has taken years to establish itself and in no way can be restored to its previous condition in October as claimed.

Why have the ODA and WFC failed to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment when excavating several feet deep into the marsh? Why have the ODA and WFC not published the restoration plan that was part of planning conditions? Why are the ODA and WFC committed to destroying protected public land when viable alternatives which provide legacy and regeneration benefits exist? These are the questions to which local residents and councillors want satisfactory answers.


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Video from CounterOlympics: London Olympics 'Lost Opportunities'

CounterOlympics first video production! A film made by Kostas Deligiannidis, Mike Wells and Julian Cheyne.



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Peaceful Non-cooperation Halts Work on Olympic Site

Peaceful Non-cooperation Halts Work on Olympic SitePeaceful Non-cooperation Halts Work on Olympic Site


Members of the Occupy Movement have set up camp, on Porters Field, part of Leyton Marshes in East London, where against stiff local opposition planning planning permission was granted by Waltham Forest to construct a number of Olympic practice basketball courts.


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ODA wants to dig deeper at Leyton Marsh

Don't be Harsh, Save the Marsh reports that it has discovered that the ODA launched a new planning application in late February or the beginning of March (on list of applications received to 12th March 2012) seeking a Variation to application 2011/1560.


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Occupy Leyton Marsh

Around 200 people turned up to protest at Leyton Marsh on Saturday 24th March, see Pedro Reyna's photostream.


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just not cricket?

Perhaps that fragile 'Legacy' shifts quicker than the underground aquifers round here: Some of the new cricket pitches (and what remains of the wildflower meadow) might want digging up for new flood protection (to protect the posh in those 'new neighbourhoods' downriver)?


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Press Release: Leyton Marsh Campaign to seek Judicial Review

As already featured on Games Monitor a newly formed campaign group, The Save Leyton Marshes! Group, has issued a Press Rlease stating its intention to seek a Judicial Review of Waltham Forest's decision to approve construction of a Basketball Training Facility at Leyton Marsh.

The statement, which is attached, included the following declaration:

A unanimous vote decided in favour of taking legal action to seek a Judicial Review of Waltham Forest’s procedures in approving the development, which is on Metropolitan Open Land within the Regional Park and therefore supposedly protected under national and regional legislation - as well as in Waltham Forest’s own Development Plan.

It was also agreed by unanimous vote that a Barrister should be instructed to issue the letter on behalf of the group. A Conference with Counsel is being arranged for Tuesday afternoon, so that the necessary documentation can be issued to Waltham Forest’s Legal Department by close of business

The Legal Case we are bringing:

The first step is to send a letter before action to LBWF, and on 29th February to issue a claim for Leave to pursue Judicial Review at the High Court, including a request for a Holding Order to prevent work starting during the progress of the case, and probably accompanied by an emergency Injunction to prevent the site being fenced off – which has been given permission from the 1st March.

There is also an option of making a formal complaint to the Borough itself, which could ultimately come to referral to the Local Government Ombudsman, and of making a complaint about the conduct of the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority who have not acted in accordance with their own governing Park Act providing for the setting up the country’s first Regional Park in 1967.


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