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A Bankrupt Field of Dreams

The fraught disputes over how best to recoup the high construction and maintenance costs of the London Olympic stadium conform to a pattern previously seen elsewhere in England and abroad. The story of the Don Valley stadium in Sheffield provides a cautionary tale of how the visionary delusions of ambitious politicians end up ruining the chances of ordinary people gaining adequate access to affordable opportunities for healthy recreation.

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Sustainable conversations?

Went to the latest UEL/LLDC seminar on Sustainability last week and got into a bit of a spat with the speakers and another member of the audience over the sustainability example of London 2012. Samantha Heath of London Sustainability Exchange told us how she had, almost single-handedly, got Ken Livingstone to subscribe to sustainability targets of various kinds back in 2002 to 2004 when she was a member of the Greater London Assembly and how this all depended on Ken making top down decisions, all of which may be true. She had just been telling us what a wonderful example of sustainability the London Olympics had been and how it had created a new culture in the UK. I had to disagree with her that the Olympics had been such a sustainability success given, among other things, the botched remediation, the farce of the turbines and the failure to use the canals to shift materials, none of which she disputed. Another member of the audience chipped in about the sponsors and again she agreed this had not been a success, although she was keen on the torch relay which was a puzzle given the advertising platform it provided for Coca Cola.

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London Olympic Park Watch

A website has begun publishing news and comment about the Olympic Park. It is called London Olympic Park Watch. It

"...aims to be an independent, balanced, open-minded, and constructively critical, observer of the next phase in the life of the Olympic Park."

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Lame Duckweed clearance for tourist barges on Lee Navigation

 An elevator on the front of the weed cleaning blue boat attempts to remove Duckweed. An elevator on the front of the weed cleaning blue boat attempts to remove Duckweed.

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Little to celebrate

BRITISH Waterways has ceased to exist in England and Wales and in its place Canal & River Trust (CART) has at last been created to care for the waterways.

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drop in, tune out

Anyone whose experience of ODA 'drop-in' style consultations has been one of bitter frustration and disappointment might enjoy letting this 2-hour recording play in the background.

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Forthcoming Social Cleansing in London

Anticipating the effect of the Coalition’s Local Housing Allowance reforms

The Government paid out £8bn in Housing Benefit in England in 2009/10, of which £1.5bn was spent in London. In an attempt to reduce this, a number of changes are being introduced to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA), which sets the maximum amount of rent that can be met from Housing Benefit. From 2011 LHA is being reduced from the median level of local rents to the 30th percentile and an absolute limit is being imposed on the allowance. From 2013, LHA will be increased in line with consumer price inflation (CPI) not with rents themselves. Cumulative CPI inflation between 1997/8 and 2007/8, for England, was 20%, compared with 70% for rents.

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Public Accounts Committee report Feb 2012

Preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games Feb 2012 report

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Public Accounts Committee Feb 2012 Report


The Olympic Delivery Authority’s programme is on track and within budget. The Delivery Authority’s management of its building programme has been exemplary. However, due mainly to significant increases in the cost of venue security, the likelihood of staying within the overall £9.3 billion Public Sector Funding Package is very finely balanced once the Department’s own best estimates of the most likely costs are taken into account. The Funding Package of £9.3 billion allocated to the Olympics does not cover the totality of the costs to the public purse of delivering the Games and their legacy, which are already heading for around £11 billion.

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Assistant Police Commissioner and "Civil Servant" Visit Peaceful non-cooperation Camp on Leyton Marshes

Peaceful non-cooperation: locals and supporters play boules on Sandy Lane Leyton MarshesPeaceful non-cooperation: locals and supporters play boules on Sandy Lane Leyton Marshes

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