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Clays Lane

Carpenters: UCL Students vow to continue struggle despite 'intimidation'

Students have vowed to continue their struggle against UCL's proposals for a Stratford campus after being forced to end their occupation in solidarity with residents of the Carpenters Estate in Stratford. They were served with an injuction after beginning the sit-in on Wednesday 28th after an inconclusive UCL General Council meeting, which failed to agree the University's plan to develop the housing estate at Carpenters Road, Stratford, as a new campus. Students and academic staff have been expressing concern at the plans and offering support to residents over the past months but UCL has pressed ahead regardless in its collaboration with Newham Council prompting the sit-in.


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Barcelona and London: Who tells the story?

When telling the story of Barcelona Professor Muñoz also made some interesting comments about the previous occupants of the docklands area which was cleared to make way for the new gentrified suburb. They were, he said, 'mainly women and squatters'. If I recall the number moved was 55,000, a lot of plainly undesirable women and squatters! Of course, as with the Lea Valley the allegedly derelict nature of the area was also rehearsed. It was after all a docklands area, rather like the industrial land cleared for the London 2012 Olympics, land deliberately used by the city for 'dirty' projects and providing services others preferred not to have on their doorstep but then condemned for those very purposes to justify its seizure. Professor Muñoz referred to the process by which the company redeveloping the site moved from being publicly controlled to privately controlled, as if this somehow justified the loss of housing for the poor. The Barcelona Olympics was supposed to deliver public benefits but failed to do so. As a public project it was for the city and national governments to ensure this occurred but they failed to do this.


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Sustaining, supporting and reviewing communities

One of the proudest boasts of those promoting the London Olympics was that they saw 'sustaining and supporting' local communities as a key objective. At Clays Lane the first thing the LDA did was lie to residents telling them their estate would be demolished even if the Olympics didn't come. At Leabank Square the ODA threatened legal action for defamation when residents made some pointed remarks about the performance of the community liaison officer on their own estate blogspot. At Wanstead Flats the Government overturned the Epping Forest Act in order to grab a piece of land for a police barracks.


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Less affordable housing on Olympic Park?

It seems 'affordable' housing on the Olympic Park has taken another hit. According to Greg Rosenberg, who was speaking at the East London Community Land Trust AGM, the present target of 35% is to be reduced to 28%. Greg was giving a lecture on CLTs, with particular reference to Troy Gardens, a project he was involved with in Madison, Wisconsin. This was mentioned when he and some others from the East London Community Land Trust had a meeting with the Mayor's London Legacy Development Corporation to discuss the possibility of a land trust at Chobham Manor, formerly known as Clays Lane.


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Local Heroes

By Leah Borromeo

The motto of the Games is "inspire a generation". However, not everyone is enthused. Londoners from the poorest parts of the city facing major upheavals from losing their homes, livelihoods and public spaces to the mercy of a few weeks of medal-chasing over the summer. They believe that the Olympics gave local councils and big business an excuse for a land grab - in which the community had little or no say. When they voice their opposition, they are hushed by the machinery of bureaucracy, the suppression of protest and the reality of losing the roofs over their heads. But their concerns are as real as the Games itself, which have received some £9.3bn in UK public funding. Community life will continue long after the athletes, the fans and the confetti have gone. I spent a week listening to and gathering the stories of Londoners shouting at the walls of an Olympic Jericho.

Joe Alexander: Photo: Leah BorromeoPhoto: Leah Borromeo

Joe Alexander, 38, is in property maintenance. He lives on the Carpenters Road estate and is vice chair of the local campaign group Carpenters Against Regeneration Plans. I spent the day with Joe - a quiet, eloquent divorcee and father who moved to Stratford in London's East End in the hopes of starting a new life


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Look what they did to my home, Ma! Clays Lane - A brief memorial

Clays Lane - completed 1982 closed 2007

Daly Courtyard from garden outside the Community CentreDaly Courtyard from garden outside Community Centre

July 23rd was the day they closed the Clays Lane estate for good...

Daly Courtyard from outside Community Centre after closure of Clays Lane EstateDaly Courtyard from outside Community Centre after closure of Clays Lane Estate

ResonanceFM Radio marked the day with a broadcast of a series of talks and walks with local people from 2007 to be followed by Against the Olympic Myth: a Memorial to Clays Lane in three broadcasts on Tuesday 24th, Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th July all at 10am. This will be followed by a programme of events - 'Clays Lane Archive' - put together by Adelita Husni-Bey, starting on 11th August until 19th, at Supplement Gallery and Bethnal Green Library.


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Round and Round and Round in Leyton

Leyton is becoming a hot spot for security guards harassing camera crews. Another film crew wanted to film the site of the former Clays Lane estate. We were standing on the same steps next to Draper's Field when once again a team of security guards came over to 'question' us about what we were doing. After some banter in which we told them it was none of their business they retired to call the cops.


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CPO documents? Fox TV - you can talk to my lawyers!

I must have done a hundred interviews about Clays Lane, the compulsory purchase order and being evicted/relocated by the LDA. So far no-one has ever asked me for proof that this happened. Until yesterday, when I got an email from a freelancer who had done an interview with me for Fox TV.


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