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Waltham Forest

a bridge too far

Today finally sees the re-opening of Lea Bridge Station, closed for the last 31 years. Trumpeted parenthetically last week in a tweet from the Standard's Ross Lydall as following a "£5m Olympic windfall".


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Manor Gardens Allotments - The Scandal Continues

Oh what a lovely Legacy! The media are long gone but the scandalous treatment of the Manor Gardens Allotments Society (MGS) at the hands of the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA), Waltham Forest Council and the London Legacy Development Corporation LLDC) continues.

As part of the deal stitched together to prevent the MGS’s return to the Queen Elizabeth Aftermath Olympic Park (QEOP) at Eton Manor following their temporary relocation to Marsh Lane Fields, now ludicrously named The Jubilee Park, a Section 106 agreement had to be drawn up by the three conspiring ‘authorities’. The purpose of this was to provide plots at the now permanent allotment site at Marsh Lane in lieu of those no longer to be provided at Eton Manor and to divide up the costs of creating a meadow in their place at Eton Manor.

The LVRPA voted this agreement through without telling anyone, including the MGS, in May of this year. The text of the document presented to the Executive Committee states:

It is understood some kind of ‘understanding’ was reached between the London Development Agency (LDA) and the MGS in 2007 to ensure that following the Games the MGS would return to a site allocated for allotments somewhere on QEOP’.


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Manor Gardens Allotments: a Scandalous Legacy

The scandalous treatment of the Manor Gardens Allotment Society continues. In the autumn of 2007 the allotments were forcibly, but supposedly temporarily, removed to Marsh Lane Fields in Leyton, now ridiculously renamed Jubilee Park. The original planning permission was granted by Waltham Forest on the strict condition that this was to be a temporary relocation and the allotments were to return to the Olympic Park, although not to their original site, now part of the 'Not the largest new urban park in Europe for 150 years'. Indeed, back in February 2007 so determined was Waltham Forest to ensure the allotments should return that it threatened to throw a spanner in the works when it turned down the LDA’s first planning application forcing the LDA to offer concessions and reapply.

Allotment 4: photo by Martin SlavinAllotment 4: photo by Martin Slavin

But as many predicted at the time once created the likelihood was the allotments at Marsh Lane would not be removed come the end of the Olympics. And so it has transpired with Waltham Forest giving permission for a permanent set of allotments. For the New Lamas Lands Defence Committee, which campaigned to retain the open space at Marsh Lane, this has been a bitter pill to swallow. Not only has the open space been lost but environmental measures which were supposed to have been taken to screen the allotments have never been carried out.

Now the ‘scandal’, as far as Waltham Forest is concerned, is the notion that open space in the Olympic Park should be ‘lost’ to allotments. The original plan was for the allotments to be returned to a site at Eton Manor. Not all the allotments mind you. The LDA refused to treat the allotments as a society, which it was, only agreeing to the return of those individual allotment holders who had moved from the original site.


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Leyton Marsh: Malice and the prosecution of Mike Wells

Two weeks ago the trial began of nine members of Critical Mass, out of 182 originally arrested, for riding their bikes too close to the Olympic Park on the evening of the Opening Ceremony. Another malicious Olympics prosecution (see p 12), that of citizen journalist and photographer Mike Wells, finally came to an end almost two months ago on 17th January 2013. The story began with an unsubstantiated allegation that Mike assaulted the driver of an excavator at Sandy Lane, the unmade road that runs alongside Leyton Marshes, and ended nine months later at Stratford Magistrate’s Court. Mike’s prosecution occurred against a background of warnings from police and politicians that the authorities would take a hard line in the face of protest and disorder.


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A waterlogged Legacy

danny ?@m37411ic48, 'an accidental philosopher' who drives a black cab, tweeted a couple of pictures of the aftermath of the hammer throw practice area in Mayesbrook Park:

Olympic legacy: ‘this is where they practised hammerthrow and I don't think it's benefited us very much’


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ONS - 'Not possible to quantify the overall impact of the Olympics'!

Further to the Olympicsboostsh*t report on Games Monitor the rise in GDP was declared to be 1% not 0.7%. When it announced the figures the BBC reported the ONS as saying that 'beyond the effect of ticket sales, it was hard to put an exact figure on the Olympic effect, although it cited increased hotel and restaurant activity in London as well as strength from employment agencies.' This last statement is interesting as it is reported there was a decline in tourism numbers and in hotel occupancy but this was made up for with a rise in room yields because prices had been jacked up in anticipation of a tourism feast. The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) had reported a plunge in visitors to attractions all over the UK during the summer, including the Olympics period.

The ONS makes a guarded statement about online retail sales where others were more outspoken about the decline. Retailers and restaurants were complaining at the start of the Games at the decline in customers and demanded TfL alter its transport advice and these impacts continued to be felt in particular areas like Greenwich and Leyton. The ONS stated that it had fixed Olympics ticket sales in the figures for this quarter even though the sales had actually occurred in previous months.

Statements from the ONS include a lot of possibles, mays, mights and 'no direct evidence':

*Employment agencies showed some strength in the quarter and it is possible that some of this strength was related to the Olympics. However, there was no direct evidence from survey respondents to support this

*Office administration: office administration was quite strong in the quarter but the evidence on any Olympic effect was mixed, with some respondents suggesting that it may have had an adverse effect, as opposed to explaining the strength

*Creative arts and entertainment activities: the arts and entertainment sector has been showing some strength for some time, with quite strong growth in the most recent quarter. There was some evidence from survey returns that output was higher in July and August because of the Olympics

*Accommodation: hotels showed greater activity in the quarter and this was one area where one might expect to see an Olympic effect, albeit mainly in London. There was some evidence from survey returns that output was higher in July and August because of the Olympics

*Food and beverage services: there was some strength in the food and drink sector and some evidence from survey returns that part of this might have been due to the Olympics

*Land transport: there was some strength in parts of the transport sector and some evidence from survey returns that this might have been due to the Olympics

*Retail: retail showed some strength in the quarter but there was very little evidence of any significant Olympic effect. Indeed there was some feedback from online retailers that sales were lower as consumers watched the Olympics instead of shopping online

*Motion picture, video and TV programme production: the data here were quite weak for the quarter and there was some evidence from survey respondents to support this weakness - 'people watching the Olympics instead'


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Control to Police - journalist alert! journalist alert!

It's a daily occurrence at Draper's Field. Once again the police, this time two very pleasant officers from Glasgow, came to check out an Italian camera crew. We were on the pavement so entirely on public ground. It made no difference! So you can sit on a wall, be on the path inside the perimeter of Draper's Field or on the public pavement outside it, filming or just voice recording, but you will still be stopped. You can even have all the necessary accreditation but they will still come and ask what you are doing. The security guards don't get involved any more after multiple confrontations and being told it's none of their business. Their guy in the control room just calls the police.


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Police Press on for Security Olympics gold in Leyton

Yet again filming in Leyton was interrupted by two police officers, who told us they had been sent by a supervisor to tell us to move off the pathway on the private land that is Draper's Field, a path paid for by the residents of Waltham Forest and open to members of the public to walk up and down on. We were instructed to move onto the pavement which would have caused an obstruction, there was no obstruction where we were, and we ended up on the grass embankment which was of course part of the private Draper's Field. The police just gave up. The sheer stupidity of this operation resulted in footage of intrusive and objectionable security. The Dutch journalist took to filming the array of security cameras which festoon the electrified fence.


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