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Planning & Development

The 'largest new park in Europe for 150 years' - in Germany

One of the proudest boasts of the 2012 London Olympics was that it would create the largest new urban park in Europe for 150 years. I asked a Freedom of Information question (see attachment) to discover how the ODA had arrived at this description. They were unable to provide any clear information. All they could say was that they had consulted with 'CABE Space and the London Parks and Green Spaces Forum (who) had assisted the ODA in preparing benchmark studies on parks around the world and in London including previous Olympic Parks.'Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord: Europe's biggest new urban parkLandschaftspark Duisburg-Nord: Europe's biggest new urban park at over 200ha, some 500 acres, was completed in 1999 retaining the industrial archaelogy

Of course, the largest new park is no longer as large as it was having shrunk by 19 hectares. But even when it was 129 hectares its claim to be the largest new urban park in Europe was questionable. A friend recently sent me a link to a park in Duisburg, Germany, constructed on a site with many similarities to the Lea Valley, as it was a former industrial area. At over 200 hectares it is considerably larger than the much vaunted 'largest new park in Europe'.

The Duisburg industrial park shows how the Lea Valley could have been developed in an imaginative way, which illustrated the industrial history of the area, by creating a park based around the rivers and canals linking sites like the Tidal Mill at Three Mills

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The Five Ring Circus - Myths and realities of the Olympic Games

"The Olympic Games, once considered the pinnacle of athleticism and fair play, have become a cesspool of greed, backroom deals and the wholesale trampling of civil liberties. In Vancouver, preparations for the 2010 Games have had a substantial negative impact on the environment and have resulted in the 'economic cleansing' of the poor and homeless.

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2012 Olympic Censorship - Hackney picks up the baton

The poison of Olympic lies and delusions is steadily spreading through the Olympic Boroughs. Earlier in the year Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe denounced Michael Rosen, the Children's Laureate, for criticising the development in Dalston as 'degeneration' saying Rosen wanted to 'keep Hackney crap'. Now this argument between Hackney's authors and its Council has plumbed new depths with the banning of Iain Sinclair, author of 'The Olympic Scam' (see attachment), from launching his new book, 'Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire', on Council premises.

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Leabank Square Residents speak out about Noise, Dust and Legacy

On 15th October Shona Abantu-Choudhury posted the statement below on the noise and dust at Leabank Square on the Leabank Square Blogspot along with pictures of the machinery at work. You can see what other residents have to say by following the 'comments' link below his statement on the blogspot. Shona and his wife Nadira were also interviewed by BBC News. This follows earlier reports contained in More ‘Anecdotal’ Complaints of Noise and Dust from Leabank Square Residents about the situation at Leabank Square. Residents are increasingly concerned at the steadily diminishing legacy they and others in Hackney Wick will inherit once the Games are over. Having lost a vital green space at Arena Fields they are now worried the promised replacement parkland will not materialise.

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Inclusive Censorship: Art on the Underground TriFLes with our lives

There’s nothing new in patrons of the Arts censoring the work of artists they employ. Transport for London is no exception. During the summer TfL commissioned two community arts projects through its cultural arm, Art on the Underground. In keeping with current platitudes Tamsin Dillon, Head of AotU, pronounced ‘From the beginning, Art on the Underground was certain that the artwork produced for this station should involve the individuals and groups who live in, work in and visit Stratford. Central to the lives of so many people in the area, the station should embody something about the community that use it.’ The projects would have ‘the Olympic agendas of inclusion and celebration at their heart.’

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More ‘Anecdotal’ Complaints of Noise and Dust from Leabank Square Residents

More 'Anecdotal' Complaints of Noise and Dust from Leabank Square ResidentsWashing day at Leabank Square

I recently found a message on my phone from a journalist at BBC Radio London, who had seen the Games Monitor article about noise and dust at Leabank Square, ‘Hackney Wick residents complain about noise and dust from the Olympic Park’. She wanted to get in touch with Shona Abantu-Choudhury, who had been complaining on behalf of residents. But by the time I got back to her she said they had already done the programme and anyway the problems had been ‘resolved’. Really! I asked who had told them this. The ODA. Hmmm! I said I didn’t think so and just in case I would ask Shona when I next saw him. ‘No way!’ he said. Well, that’s public relations.

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2012 Athletes’ Village ‘Time Lapse’ Legacy

Despite admitting that there is no housing legacy from the Athletes’ Village, as the housing would have been built anyway, the ODA is still claiming the Athletes’ Village is an Olympic Legacy, a kind of Time Lapse Legacy, because they assert that the involvement of the Olympics means the project will be delivered earlier than it would otherwise have been, see article ‘2012 Legacy Housing Double Counting’. So I decided to ask another FoI question to establish when the ODA thought the housing would have been delivered if the ODA had not taken over the site and to ask them to further explain their reasoning.

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Higgins bl*gs again

Following the criticism of his posting about Stratford City (see 2012 Blog**ng Lies and Censorship) Mr Higgins seems to have been alerted to a negative comment from another respondent, dg (see below), who also pointed out that Stratford City was planned before the Olympic Bid was won. So our Dave had another shot at convincing blog readers that Stratford City really is an Olympic gain (see further below). Apart from dg the only other responses came from some very impressionable shopaholics or possibly ODA staff!

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2012 Blog**ng Lies and Censorship

It’s not only the Chinese who censor comment! The following 'terminological inexactitudes' appeared on the London 2012 Blog from David Higgins, Chief Executive of the ODA, as the London Olympics tries to purloin every development in the vicinity of the Olympic park for the ‘Legacy’. Not only do we have a post-Games legacy but now a pre-Games legacy! Stratford City, Stratford 2011, Newham Council Major Opportunity Zone 1 (as in Newham's Unitary Development Plan) or whatever it's called is now just another example of the catalytic effect of the Games, even though it was approved before the Bid was won, was designed to stand alone if the Olympics did not come to London and had been Newham's pet project for the previous decade. The Mayor of Newham was so protective of this scheme that at one point he put out a press release accusing London 2012 of endangering its survival.

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FOI: what did the LDA pay for compulsorily purchasing Clays Lane?

I recently asked the LDA a Freedom of Information question to find out how much it paid for a number of sites, purchased under the Compulsory Purchase Order, and to whom this money was paid. The sites included the Clays Lane and Park Village housing estates, the Clays Lane and Waterden Road Travellers' sites, the Manor Gardens allotments and the Eastway Cycle Track.

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