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The LDA clarifies its CPO information

The LDA has now provided the information I asked for, see below*. Ms Adams says 'If it is helpful, I address each aspect of your request below for the sake of clarity.' That is certainly useful and, 'for the sake of clarity', would indeed have been helpful first time round! Still, let's not be churlish and thank the LDA for providing the information requested.

Interestingly, freeholders have still not been compensated, more than two years after the Clays Lane estate, the Manor Gardens allotments and the two Travellers' sites were closed, as these claims are still being negotiated. Some businesses have also had to continue arguing with the LDA about compensation and the LDA has, of course, managed to mislay almost £160million as a result of the land grab. KPMG produced a report, attached, which is referred to in the LDA's revised budget, also attached, and the LDA Head of Development, Gareth Blacker, was suspended for that incompetence.

One piece of information relating to the Clays Lane estate provides an interesting insight into the LDA's priorities concerning the relocation programme. £501,809.43 was paid to Peabody for 'Rental voids'. I haven't clarified exactly what this refers to but I understand that Peabody was paid for the cost of keeping the estate running during the relocation process. So when tenants were moved out Peabody appears to have been paid for the voids created for which those tenants would have been paying rent. So the LDA guaranteed that Peabody would be paid as if the estate was full during the whole relocation process.

Peabody was also paid for providing two housing staff through its subsidiary Community Based Housing Association. These staff were already in place as housing officers on the estate, but were then employed as relocation staff. So effectively Peabody reduced the number of staff providing housing services during this period. While the LDA provided Peabody with several different forms of payment tenants had to argue about every aspect of their compensation. Unsurprisingly, Peabody offered no support to their tenants and voiced no opposition to the compulsory purchase of the estate.

*Email from the LDA

Dear Mr Cheyne,

We have received the email of 13th January 2010, below, from the Information Commissioner's Office. It is clear from that email that you are dissatisfied with the contents of our letter to you of 8th January 2010.

This response is intended to bring further clarity in relation to information you have requested. I hope that it is helpful to you.

The structure of the LDA's response below is based on the ICO's email. As you will see, we are copying this response to the ICO.

As you are aware, in a letter dated 8th January 2010 the LDA disclosed the information which it had withheld as to amounts paid in respect of Clays Lane Estate and Park Village Estate.

As far as we are aware, the LDA has disclosed all the information which it holds (in relation to your original request), and therefore there is no outstanding information.

If it is helpful, I address each aspect of your request below for the sake of clarity (and noting that the leasehold interest question is only relevant to the Clays Lane Estate):

1) Clays Lane Estate - Leasehold price (Land:£15,000,000.00 and Disturbance:£630,339.86) as disclosed in our letter of 8th January 2010. Whilst the freehold has been acquired, the freehold price has not yet been agreed or paid. The LDA does not therefore hold information concerning how much was paid to the original freeholder at this stage;

2) Park Village Estate - Freehold price (£15,229,110.00) as disclosed in our letter of 8th January 2010;

3) Eastway cycle circuit - The LDA does not own this site and does not therefore hold the information sought on this site (as stated in our letter of 23rd October 2008). The LDA has the ability to enter into a lease of this land with Lee Valley Regional Park Authority but the lease arrangements have yet to be agreed;

4) Manor Garden allotments - The LDA does not own the majority of this site and does not therefore hold the information sought on this site (as stated in our letter of 23rd October 2008). I say 'majority' because since our initial response, the LDA has acquired the freehold ownership of a small part of the Manor Garden Allotment site, in agreement with the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. This was acquired without payment on a temporary basis and will shortly be transferred back to Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. This was done for technical reasons to allow the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority to regularise their title to the land;

5) Waterden Rd Travellers site - The freehold interest in this site has been acquired but no price has yet been agreed or paid to the original freeholder. The LDA does not therefore hold information concerning how much was paid to the original freeholder at this stage;

6) Clays Lane Travellers site - The freehold interest in this site has been acquired but no price has yet been agreed or paid to the original freeholder. The LDA does not therefore hold information concerning how much was paid to the original freeholder at this stage;

7) Eastway Sports Centre - The LDA does not own this site and does not therefore hold the information sought on this (as stated in our letter of 23rd October 2008). The LDA has the ability to enter into a lease of this land with Lee Valley Regional Park Authority but the lease arrangements have yet to be agreed;

8) East Marsh - The LDA does not own this site and does not therefore hold the information sought on this (as stated in our letter of 23rd October 2008). The LDA has the ability to enter into a lease of this land with the London Borough of Hackney but the lease arrangements have yet to be agreed.

As regards the "disturbance" payment in respect of Clays Lane, this comprises:

* £64,982.11 (inc VAT) Legal fees (Trowers and Hamlins)
* £63,608.32 (inc VAT) Property consultants' fees (Savills and Red Loft)
* £501,809.43 Rental voids

As regards your additional request referred to by the ICO in their e-mail below as to any leases taken out on e.g. East Marsh and Eastway Sports Centre, this would appear to us to be outside the scope of your original request for information concerning amounts paid to leaseholders and freeholders. We are very happy to deal with this as a fresh request however and with that in mind it would be helpful if you could let me know the specific details of the information you seek and the LDA will respond accordingly.

Kind regards,

Debbie

Debbie Adams
Director of Law & Governance
020 7593 8375 | 07971 320 849
Debbieadams@lda.gov.uk

London Development Agency
Palestra
197 Blackfriars Road
London
SE1 8AA

Switchboard: 020 7593 8000


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Public_Item_02_1_Olympic_Land_commitments_and_revised_budget_2009_10.pdf69.35 KB
Public_Item_02_3_1_Appendix_1_KPMG_Report.pdf367.56 KB

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