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Manor Garden Allotments ODA picnic invite insult

Hitting a new low of poor taste in PR, plotholders evicted from the historic Manor Garden Allotments received an invitation from the Olympic Delivery Authority to see the 'progress' on the Olympic landscaping for which the ODA demolished their gardens three years ago. The photo on the invite is taken from a spot near the middle of the old allotment site, which stretched down to the bridge embankment in the upper left.

2012 olympic park picnic invite

To add further insult the Olympic Delivery Authority has insisted on dishonestly claiming the parklands are being created on 'former industrial land'. In reality the entire eastern half, in which Manor Garden Allotments lay, was wooded nature reserve and grassland, and belongs to the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. The red circle is the camera location for the photo on the invite :

pre-Olympics Eastway

The unique secluded location of the old site, its aesthetics and timeless quality endeared it to its many visitors and inspired photographers, painters and writers and were the original magical allotments of Timberlake Wertenbaker's play Arden City . It became one of the best known allotment sites in the world and a symbol of the hypocrisy of London 2012's 'green' Olympic regeneration claims. More information is on the website

The total financial cost of the whole mad exercise of replacing 2 hectares of allotments with this patch of lawn and footpath is very difficult to estimate. Over £2m was spent just decanting the plotholders to a temporary replacement site. There is the cost of demolition, massive earthworks and planting of the patch of new park. The allotments are then supposed to be 'moved back' after the Olympics - split over two smaller patches of exposed and contaminated land at the far edges of the Olympic site. These require special, costly remediation, as none of the Olympic Park is safe to grow food thanks to the rushed and compromised 'clean-up' attempt.

Then there is the environmental cost of moving some 200,000 tonnes of soil during the process, much of which is travelling long distances and ending up in landfill, and the wholesale loss of wildlife and habitat. Channelsea River, which ran along one side of the allotments in a wooded valley and had a population of water voles and kingfishers, was culverted and filled in without warning with thousands of tonnes of surplus spoil, though the planning application had specified its preservation as retained wildlife habitat.

olympic trees cut downolympic tree factory

Thousands of existing trees cut down across the Olympic site are being 'mitigated' by characterless clone replacements

The Olympic Park Tree Schedule, a record of the thousands of existing trees on the construction site prior to their felling, lists 55 on the former Manor Garden Allotments - including walnut, cherry, plum, pear, apple, pine, fig, fir and ash, all with their own stories to tell.

Manor Gardens Allotments

Manor Garden Allotments in 2007 - replaced by 'spectator lawns'

demolition of manor Garden Allotments on 2012 Olympic site Nov 2007

Olympic Delivery Authority contractors wrecking the former allotments after eviction in 2007

Where the groves of plum trees used to bloom and grapevines and roses tumbled over garden gates and sheds of every colour and vintage, the Olympic Delivery Authority's guests ('You will be required to bring a photographic ID') could admire the computer-plotted deserts of lawn (turf trucked in from Lincolnshire) and the mass-produced saplings (imported from Hampshire) while nibbling their contractor-prepared picnics. What a contrast to the bonfire celebrations and Spring Feasts we enjoyed there before, in a perfect place that cost the tax payer nothing.


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