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Manor Gardens Allotments | Games Monitor

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Manor Gardens Allotments

Feeding the Olympics


Originally posted Yule 2007

A new report 'Feeding the Olympics' from the Soil Association, Sustain and the New Economics Foundation, calls on London 2012 to deliver on their promise to be the greenest and healthiest Games in terms of the food they provide, and sets out how this can be done:

"This report is a call to action for everyone involved in catering for the London 2012 Olympic Games, to ensure that the food served before, during and after the Games is local, seasonal and organic as was promised in London’s bid


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Tessa Jowell - Joan of Arc of the Allotments?

This article has been modified on receipt of further information.

London's failed Olympic Legacy creates strange bedfellows. It seems London2012's scandalous allotments' legacy, which has been totally ignored up to now by politicians and journalists, has scandalised former Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, who has weighed in accusing the London Legacy Development Corporation and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority of breaking the promise made to the Manor Gardens Allotment Society.

In a letter dated 25th March 2014 sent to Dennis Hone, CEO of the LLDC, and copied to Shaun Dawson, CEO of the LVRPA, Martin Esom, CEO of Waltham Forest Council, and Phillip Lewis, Chair of the LLDC Planning Committee, she points out that the Manor Gardens Society 'co-operated' with London2012 following 'assurances' that 're-provision would be made within the Olympic Park'. This had resulted in a decision to create two sites at 'Eton Manor and the southern areas of the park'. However, the decision by the LLDC on 25th February 2014 to agree an application by Waltham Forest, supported by the LVRPA, to create 'community landscaping' in place of the allotments at Eton Manor means:

'the MSG members have had the commitment to them broken. It was the responsibility of the planning committee to ensure that the promise made is met.'


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Manor Gardens Allotments: a Scandalous Legacy

The scandalous treatment of the Manor Gardens Allotment Society continues. In the autumn of 2007 the allotments were forcibly, but supposedly temporarily, removed to Marsh Lane Fields in Leyton, now ridiculously renamed Jubilee Park. The original planning permission was granted by Waltham Forest on the strict condition that this was to be a temporary relocation and the allotments were to return to the Olympic Park, although not to their original site, now part of the 'Not the largest new urban park in Europe for 150 years'. Indeed, back in February 2007 so determined was Waltham Forest to ensure the allotments should return that it threatened to throw a spanner in the works when it turned down the LDA’s first planning application forcing the LDA to offer concessions and reapply.

Allotment 4: photo by Martin SlavinAllotment 4: photo by Martin Slavin

But as many predicted at the time once created the likelihood was the allotments at Marsh Lane would not be removed come the end of the Olympics. And so it has transpired with Waltham Forest giving permission for a permanent set of allotments. For the New Lamas Lands Defence Committee, which campaigned to retain the open space at Marsh Lane, this has been a bitter pill to swallow. Not only has the open space been lost but environmental measures which were supposed to have been taken to screen the allotments have never been carried out.

Now the ‘scandal’, as far as Waltham Forest is concerned, is the notion that open space in the Olympic Park should be ‘lost’ to allotments. The original plan was for the allotments to be returned to a site at Eton Manor. Not all the allotments mind you. The LDA refused to treat the allotments as a society, which it was, only agreeing to the return of those individual allotment holders who had moved from the original site.


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Marshland, dreams and nightmares on the edge of London

‘Marshland, dreams and nightmares on the edge of London’ by Gareth E Rees is not a book about the Olympics! But it is about the ongoing struggle over Hackney Marshes and the open space on the east of the River Lea. In 1892, 3,000 local people tore up rails laid by the East London Waterworks Company. In 1985 a campaign group called Save the Marshes succeeded in beating off the attempt by the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority, the supposed protector of the Marshes, to allow quarrying on Walthamstow Marshes. Then in 2005 London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games and battle was joined once again in the most recent round in the continuing struggle between local people and railway, water and quarrying companies, housing authorities and developers and now the Olympic Delivery Authority.


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The Deferential Olympics

One family seems to be doing nicely out of the Olympics. Mrs Windsor's nephew made a profit out of selling Jubilee and Olympics commemorative items at £3,900 a throw. Mrs Windsor herself was awarded an Honorary BAFTA and was ludicrously described as the 'most memorable Bond girl yet'. The Olympic Park is, of course, named after a famous ship, the QEII. A further example of this interminable sycophancy is the renaming of another local park, Marsh Lane Fields, where the Manor Gardens Allotments were forcibly relocated, as the instantly forgettable Leyton Jubilee Park.


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Problem with attrition? Try communities and engagement glue

More Olympic mumbo jumbo, this time about London 2012's recruitment legacy. Pats on the back for LOCOG’s head of recruitment, Paul Modley, for keeping his team of employees motivated, despite the fact that they knew their jobs would end when the Olympics finished. Huh? Is this a problem unique to the Olympics? Don’t lots of projects come to an end and everyone knows they’ll have to look for another job?


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Less affordable housing on Olympic Park?

It seems 'affordable' housing on the Olympic Park has taken another hit. According to Greg Rosenberg, who was speaking at the East London Community Land Trust AGM, the present target of 35% is to be reduced to 28%. Greg was giving a lecture on CLTs, with particular reference to Troy Gardens, a project he was involved with in Madison, Wisconsin. This was mentioned when he and some others from the East London Community Land Trust had a meeting with the Mayor's London Legacy Development Corporation to discuss the possibility of a land trust at Chobham Manor, formerly known as Clays Lane.


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