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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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VIP Lanes: we'll take the low road and they'll take the VIP lanes

By Mike Wells, posted 16th February 2012, edited 17th Feb 2012

For security reasons there will be no commercial flights within 18 miles of the Olympic stadium for the duration of the Games. This will mean that VIPs and heads of state will not be able to use their preferred mode of transport - the helicopter - they will have to slum it with the rest of us on the roads.


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Losing the Marshes


A story of what happens when the Olympics comes to town. The Olympic Games and the attendant juggernaut of its needs will threaten an area rich in history and loved by its community and visitors from the rest of London. Hackney has its own unique qualities, a wealth of community projects and a history of great significance and symmetry with today and the prescience for the behemoth of the Olympics, steadily rolling into view.


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What's WickED?

This story has been updated as it has developed.

What's wicked? What exactly is going on with Hackney WickED? Or with London2012? The HackneyWickED Art Festival has succumbed to the blandishments of the London Olympics. It now includes the OPLC as one of its 'sponsors and partners'.


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Research Paper: Small Business Communities and the London Olympics 2012

Research paper into the experiences of small businesses forced to move to make way for the 2012 London Olympic Games.


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The turbines that will never turn

At the end of November the Pipe Major declared that Hackney's alleged wind turbine on East Marsh had finally lost its blades. In fact this was always an ODA not a Hackney project and it was not going to power Hackney homes but feed into the Olympic Park grid. In June the ODA's other turbine at Eton Manor was propelled into oblivion by a lack of commercial interest. At that time Hackney insisted the East Marsh turbine would still go ahead as the council claimed it did not present the same issues. However, it now turns out it did and the same lack of investors has done for the project.


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UCL Study: Hackney Marsh - Catalyst for Social Cohesions and Transformative Changes

Collaborative study by a group of masters’ students, mostly international, taking the MSc Environment and Sustainable Development at the Development Planning Unit – University College London.

The study, based on fieldwork undertaken in 2008, set out to


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Correction re Americans to take over London Fields Lido for last minute practice

Correction and apology, the Lido is not being taken over by the American Olympic team but by the Paralympic team - for a few hours a day, details not yet available - best to check with the Lido for times.


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