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Lower Lea Valley CPO. Those remaining

The future of 76 businesses [involving about 800 workers] hangs in the balance after London's Olympic planners received powers to force them to sell their land. The small businesses, which employ about 800 people, are yet to a agree prices for their plots on what is to become the 500-acre Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.

From Friday, they can be evicted under a compulsory purchase order (CPO) made by the industry secretary Alistair Darling. The 76 firms, mostly in Marshgate Lane and Waterden Road, occupy the last 7% of the land that still needs to be acquired before the deadline of July next year. Building work on the 2012 Olympic venues is due to start early 2008.

In total, 211 companies had to vacate their premises. So far almost two thirds - including all the larger firms - have signed contracts to move, accounting for about 4,000 jobs and 93% of the land.

Of the 450 residents inside the Olympic Park, 250 have been relocated while another 200 still remain in Clays Lane. Two traveller communities - 15 families in Newham and 20 families in Hackney - also have to make way. The two boroughs are yet to grant planning permission for new traveller sites.

The London Development Agency (LDA), in charge of the buying, is spending £620 million on the land. That also includes building three new industrial parks - in Beckton, Leyton and Enfield, all further out of central London - where many of the 211 firms will be housed.

From: Forced Olympic land sale approved, By Martina Smit and agencies, This is Local London, 20 12 06

More at: Lea Valley CPO remainder

The LDA's need to acquire land for the Olympic project has led to a number of controversial campaigns.

Travellers at Clays Lane, Stratford, are unhappy about plans to move them to a residential area in Major Road, near Leyton.There is also opposition to plans to move travellers from Waterden Road on to Hackney Marshes.

The plans, which involve the demolition of a community centre and sports pitches, are also unpopular with residents who do not want what they see as vital facilities removed.

And more than 80 allotments, in Waterden Road, will be demolished to make way for a concrete walkway. There are plans to relocate them to Marsh Lane, Leyton.

The Manor Gardening Society, with the help of UEL architecture lecturer Tak Hoshino, has been looking at ways the allotments can be retained in the Olympic park.

From: Get off games site, By Carl Brown, Walthamstow Guardian, 28 12 06

More at: Reluctant

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