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Occupy protest blocks 2012 build on Leyton Marshes
PROTESTERS are camped out on Leyton Marshes in an attempt to prevent a temporary Olympic training centre being built.
Around 20 people have set up tents to stop diggers starting work on a basketball court, car park and holding area on pubic land off Lea Bridge Road.
The plan was controversially approved by Waltham Forest Council in February despite a petition opposing the plan signed by 1,250 people.
The protesters are a mix of local residents and members of the Occupy London movement, which recently set up camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral.
The Leyton Marshes campsite was established on Saturday (March 24) to protest against the use of protected, public land for Olympics development.
Campaigner Matthew Waterfall, 33, of Manor Road in Leyton, said: "I’ve been coming down here every day to show my support.
"I don’t think the Olympic Delivery Authority should be building the basketball court here because it’s public land.
"The Occupy guys are peacefully protesting which is great.
"We don’t want to obstruct anyone from using the land but do want to stop them building here.
"It could set a precedent where other green spaces could be built upon in future."
The Lee Valley Park Authority, which owns the marshes, will receive £65,000 for the use of the land. Residents will be denied access to a number of the borough's green spaces throughout the summer.
Drapers Field in Leyton will be used as a storage area, while a campsite is planned for the Waterworks Nature Reserve in Leyton and Low Hall playing fields in Walthamstow.
A company has claimed to have sealed a deal to create campsites at Ive Farm playing fields in Leyton and on land at George Monoux College in Chingford Road, Walthamstow.
Part of Wanstead Flats is also to be used as a temporary police base.
The council said that any money earned from the use of green spaces will fund community events.
The ODA has vowed to return Leyton Marshes to public use as soon as possible after the Games.
A spokesman for the ODA said: “We are liaising closely with the land-owner, the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, and the Metropolitan Police to ensure the safety of the workforce and the public, and the security of the construction site.
"This is a temporary facility, occupying just one section of Leyton Marsh, and will be removed soon after the Paralympic Games.
"We remain totally committed to restoring the area to its previous state. In addition, the Lee Valley Authority will be investing £65,000 of funding from the ODA in improved seating, pathways and gateways and enhanced habitats for wildlife.”
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