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Planning & Development

Jonathan Stephens has got form

Jonathan Stephens, the permanent secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), told a select committee that he would neither confirm nor deny his alleged role in allowing Adam Smith, Hunt's special adviser, to speak to James Murdoch's office. Later, the DCMS issued a statement saying Stephens was "content" with Smith's role.


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Public expenditure for private profit

This video arrives via Paul Norman's Olympic blog. On September 28 2011 he chaired a debate at the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation's annual meeting. He says:


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The Olympic Fringe: A postgraduate study

I have just stumbled across this document published by the LSE Cities Programme

In "2009-10 the focus was on the areas surrounding East London's massive Olympic Park development: Hackney Wick, Fish Island, Sugarhouse Lane, Carpenter's Estate, Stratford Town Centre and Leyton. How will they benefit from the regeneration projects promised for this largely deprived part of London? Students suggested some interventions, emphasising the role small, local projects could play in the growth and change of the Olympic fringe sites.


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House Prices in Newham

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Jobs, Mc-jobs and Mc-non-jobs

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Letter To Denis Hone CEO of ODA from Mike Wells, re Leyton Marshes

5th April 2012

Re: The Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) recent works on Leyton Marshes, close to London’s Olympic enclosure.

Dear Mr Hone, CEO of the ODA

I am writing to you in response to your recent letter addressed to “Dear Resident” in which you attempt to persuade local people that the ODA’s plan to construct a building on Leyton Marshes (classified as Metropolitan Open Space) is justifiable.


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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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