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Dereliction, 2012 Olympics style

When does a building on the Olympic site become derelict? The answer, when the LDA takes it over. The 2012 blog (see below) describes a tower block, which used to belong to the University of East London, as having been 'derelict for a number of years'. So I wonder how that came about? Maybe the building was abandoned due to its appalling state? No, it was rendered derelict by the LDA after they took it over from the University of East London in the summer of 2005.

Whether two and a half years counts as 'a number of years' is open to question but the implication that the building, along with the rest of the estate which consisted of another tower block and several streets of housing for a total of around 500 people, was already abandoned is the usual lie which accompanies this kind of programme. Those responsible for the dereliction were the LDA and then that dereliction is used to justify demolition.

The students who used to live on this estate were removed with indecent haste by the University who wanted to hand it over to the LDA by the end of July 2005, a mere six weeks after notices to quit expired on 21st June. Of course, most students had gone home at the end of the summer term but there were always students who stayed on and they had to look for new homes at a time when some were doing exams prior to the expiry of the Notices to Quit.

The University sent around letters saying locks would be changed the day after the notices expired which represented illegal eviction. The letters had to be withdrawn but the University continued to harass and threaten students with being charged court costs if they stayed on for even an extra week. The University also claimed the estate was to be handed over to the LDA on the day after the notices expired, which was a lie.

The LDA was asked to reconsider the closure of the estate and allow students to remain there for at least another year as the UEL had not yet built sufficient new accommodation. This could easily have been done. It refused and students who would have lived there were pushed onto the private market while the estate just remained empty. Instead, in due course, they started ripping out the interior fittings like so many 'public spirited' developers before them.

The LDA was also asked to make the housing available to homeless people but said it would take too long to get permission from Newham, which was probably true! The Olympic Borough failed to give its residents at Clays Lane decant status, to enable them to bid for Council properties in Newham or other boroughs, until seven months after the relocation programme got under way while they bargained with the LDA for nomination rights to Legacy housing.

Efforts were made by the LDA to portray the estate as uninhabitable, which was complete rubbish, and that students didn't want to live on the estate even though some students chose to live there rather than on the University's new Docklands campus. The LDA made similar claims about the quality of housing and amenities at Clays Lane, saying, for example, in evidence to the Compulsory Purchase Inquiry, that residents were 'isolated' by the green space at Eastway and that almost no-one was concerned about the loss of this amenity when over 75% had said that living next to a green space was important to them.

The LDA proceeded to demolish the street housing at Park Village in early 2007 while the neighbouring Clays Lane estate and Travellers' site were still occupied. This resulted in serious dust pollution which had severe health effects for the travellers. Despite assurances from the ODA initially no precautions were taken by the contractors to contain the dust and the ODA failed to require the contractors to abide by work restrictions.

The loss of homes for 1000 people at Park Village and Clays Lane has not been taken into account when assessing the claims for housing gain from the Athletes' Village. Once again the LDA has simply lied saying that 9,000 new homes will result from the Village when in fact much of the housing will be built anyway for the Stratford City development and modified for the Olympics. So much of it is not new, Olympic, housing at all. But then neither was the Park Village estate 'derelict' before the LDA got their hands on it!

Julian Cheyne

From their 2012 Blog

Video: Demolition day

The 2012 Editor, 5 Nov 2007

At the end of October, demolition of the tallest building on the Olympic Park site took place.

The 12-storey building, which used to be University of East London student accommodation, has been derelict for a number of years.

Removing the building will clear the area that will link the Olympic Village and Velodrome during the Games.

The area is also at the heart of plans after the Games when community facilities such as new homes, schools and sporting venues will all be close by.


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