Former Olympics minister accuses legacy bosses of 'broken allotments promise' (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Dame Tessa Jowell has urged the London Legacy Development Corporation to re-home allotment holders who were promised a return to the Olympic Park
Dame Tessa Jowell has accused Olympic Park bosses of breaking a promise to allotment holders.
The former Olympics Minister last week sent a letter to the London Legacy Development Corporation’s (LLDC) chief executive Dennis Hone, slamming the LLDC for its treatment of allotment group Manor Garden Society.
The group’s allotments were moved from the Olympic Park site in 2007 to make way for development and moved to Marsh Lane in Leyton, following assurances that a future site would be provided inside the Olympic Park before December 2014.
But in January the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s (LBWF) planning committee voted unanimously to retain the 64-plot site permanently, citing long waiting lists for plots in the borough and food benefits for plot holders.
Campaigners said at the time that the site was falling into disrepair and retaining it meant valuable public space would be lost.
“In my capacity as the former secretary of state responsible for the [Olympic] bid and as the former Olympics minister, I feel a great personal obligation to the commitment I gave and will do everything I can to ensure that, even at this late stage, it is met,” the MP for Dulwich and West Norwood wrote.
It is understood that the would-be Olympic Park allotments would have been available to anyone, whereas the Marsh Lane fields will be made available only to Waltham Forest residents.
“The MSG members have had the promise made to them broken,” Dame Tessa Jowell added.
“It was the responsibility of the planning committee to ensure that the promise made is met.
“I understand that the site at Marsh Lane, now envisaged as the permanent site for the allotments alongside the site at Pudding Mill Lane, will revert to being a regular LBWF amenity after the current generation of MGS members pass away.”
The original site was split, with a 0.9ha portion being moved to Pudding Mill Lane in the south of the park, while 1.2ha was moved to Marsh Lane.
LLDC declined to comment, saying the letter was private correspondence.
Manor Garden Society has been contacted for comment.
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