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Circus Field - Bring on the Clowns!

The circus goes on! Having elicited the information from Greenwich Council's Senior Planning Solicitor that the ODA had requested that the LDA purchase Blackheath Circus Field on its behalf, NOGOE's Rachel Mawhood was surprised by the response from the ODA to a Freedom of Information request submitted on 20th December 2011 in which she had written:

'I understand, LOCOG intends to use the Olympics Act 2006 somehow to circumvent the 1866 and 1871 legislation to empower themselves to enclose Circus Field in 2012.

Which part of the Olympics Act says that it can be used to over-ride the Metropolitan Commons Act 1866 and Supplemental Act 1871?'

To her astonishment the ODA responded:

"We can confirm that the ODA does not hold the information you have requested."

How is this possible? Mrs Mawhood's request was framed in terms of LOCOG's intentions. It may be the ODA wishes to argue that it is not responsible for what LOCOG intends to do. However, this would be at best disingenuous, at worst straightforwardly dishonest.

It has to be noted that in one of her responses the Senior Planning Solicitor had said:

'The lease is made between Her Majesty the Queen, the Crown Estate Commissioners and the London Development Agency, and an under lease of the Circus Field has been made between the LDA and LOCOG by licence to underlet from the Crown Estate Commissioners.'

So there is a clear connection between the LDA and LOCOG in the underlease from the Crown Estate Commissioners. The lease made between the LDA and the Queen and the Crown Estate Commissioners was taken out at the request of the ODA. The ODA would not have made this request unless it was aware that the purpose was to grant the underlease to LOCOG.

The purpose of the LDA's purchase of the Circus Field was to fulfil the condition in the Olympics Act that land which the ODA wanted to use for the Olympics had to be purchased by a Regional Development Agency, the LDA, and that this purchase was carried out at the request of the ODA so that it could then enclose the Circus Field using its powers under the Act to overcome the bar on enclosure, created by the Metropolitan Commons Acts, on behalf of LOWCOG.

It is therefore impossible for the ODA not to hold information about a purchase it has requested, according to the Senior Planning Solicitor, which will enable it, so it supposes, to enclose the Circus Field and thus to over-ride the 1866 and 1871 Acts, all carried out to fulfil LOCOG's intention of using the Circus Field.

Either that or the Senior Planning Solicitor has provided seriously misleading information about the transaction.

We await the next circus act! The clowns?

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