LEYTON: Protesters halt works at Olympic site

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Protesters have halted work on the Olympics training centre on Leyton Marsh Protesters have halted work on the Olympics training centre on Leyton Marsh

CONSTRUCTION of a temporary Olympic training centre on Leyton Marshes has been completely halted by the protesters at the site.

A mix of residents and members of the Occupy London movement, which recently set up camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral, moved onto the site off Lea Bridge Road last weekend.

Campaigners are furious that the green space is being closed off to the public and fear the works could cause lasting damage to the scenic spot.

The Olympic Delivery Authority denies this and has promised to return the land to its original condition at the end of the Games this summer.

The plan was controversially approved by Waltham Forest Council in February despite a petition opposing it signed by 1,250 people.

An ODA spokesman confirmed works had been delayed but did not provide further information.

He said: "The basketball training venue for the Olympics and Paralympics is a temporary structure, that will be removed within a month of the end of the Games, and the land restored to its previous state.

"The vast majority of Leyton Marsh is completely unaffected.

"The ODA are committed to building a basketball training facility for the Games and regret that action has been taken which has delayed work on the site.

"More than 10 alternative existing sites were identified through a tendering process although none matched the specific requirements from the FIBA (International Basketball Federation), or where there were facilities, they were more than a 30-minute drive from the Olympic Village – an International Olympic Committee requirement.”

Caroline Day, 31, of the Save Leyton Marsh campaign, said: "The ODA say this is temporary, that they can restore the land to its original condition and that the majority of the marshes is unaffected - but we dispute all three of those claims.

"They are digging several feet down for the concrete foundations, despite saying on their planning application that it would be a few centimetres.

"They have admitted to us off the record that even if they relay it with turf the land won't be back to its original condition in October. It will take at least a year to grow back properly and around 10 for it to be a suitable habitat for wildlife again."

She added: "Residents and the occupy protesters are united, we're not two distinct groups but part of the same movement here. The numbers have stayed the same this week but more might come soon."

Home office officials reportedly visited the site this morning to inspect it but did not speak to protesters.

Around 12 tents are currently erected by the building works on the land.

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Comments (15)

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2:57pm Fri 30 Mar 12

Sam Hain says...

"...a suitable habitat for wildlife again"? It always looked like a football pitch to me, not a great wildlife habitat I venture to suggest. I hope this motley crew of protesters are proud of their 'achievement' (sadly, I suspect they're ****-a-hoop). The words 'get' and 'a life' come to mind!
"...a suitable habitat for wildlife again"? It always looked like a football pitch to me, not a great wildlife habitat I venture to suggest. I hope this motley crew of protesters are proud of their 'achievement' (sadly, I suspect they're ****-a-hoop). The words 'get' and 'a life' come to mind! Sam Hain

3:01pm Fri 30 Mar 12

Sam Hain says...

PS: The asterisks that have automatically appeared cover up the word which is a synonym for a male hen! The article above this one about Leyton students helping clean up the Thames shows how positive action can help the environment. Rather than lolling around in the sun feeling pious there people should be rolling their sleeves up and getting stuck in.
PS: The asterisks that have automatically appeared cover up the word which is a synonym for a male hen! The article above this one about Leyton students helping clean up the Thames shows how positive action can help the environment. Rather than lolling around in the sun feeling pious there people should be rolling their sleeves up and getting stuck in. Sam Hain

3:15pm Fri 30 Mar 12

Sam Hain says...

PPS: Has this encampment got permission to camp on Metropolitan Open Land and what is their presence doing for the environment? For example, what toilet provision is there and are they lighting fires. More to the point, will they clean up after themselves when (if?) they go or will they leave it to Lea Valley Parks Authority (funded out of our Council Tax) to clean up?
PPS: Has this encampment got permission to camp on Metropolitan Open Land and what is their presence doing for the environment? For example, what toilet provision is there and are they lighting fires. More to the point, will they clean up after themselves when (if?) they go or will they leave it to Lea Valley Parks Authority (funded out of our Council Tax) to clean up? Sam Hain

3:20pm Fri 30 Mar 12

mdj says...

'.. positive action can help the environment.'
I think the protesters would argue that that's just what they're engaged in, Sam: all the people whose faces I recognised at the site last Saturday were locals who have campaigned for the Lammas Lands for years.
They're also campaigning to see the law upheld rather than trodden on, which is something this Council doesn't seem to understand, but you would approve of, surely?
'.. positive action can help the environment.' I think the protesters would argue that that's just what they're engaged in, Sam: all the people whose faces I recognised at the site last Saturday were locals who have campaigned for the Lammas Lands for years. They're also campaigning to see the law upheld rather than trodden on, which is something this Council doesn't seem to understand, but you would approve of, surely? mdj

3:16am Sat 31 Mar 12

Claxon Foghorn says...

The protesters should be commended, too much open green space has been taken away from local kids and this Olympic Folly has and will do nothing to enhance their long term future.
The protesters should be commended, too much open green space has been taken away from local kids and this Olympic Folly has and will do nothing to enhance their long term future. Claxon Foghorn

6:13pm Sat 31 Mar 12

Sam Hain says...

Then explain away, Claxon Foghorn, the success of Waltham Forest's young people in winning the gold medal in the inter-Olympic Borough swimming contest held in the Olympic Aquatic Centre recently. This project has already delivered a major boost to the sporting endeavour of our youngsters before the Olympics have even begun so, on that basis, I have few concerns about the Legacy!
Then explain away, Claxon Foghorn, the success of Waltham Forest's young people in winning the gold medal in the inter-Olympic Borough swimming contest held in the Olympic Aquatic Centre recently. This project has already delivered a major boost to the sporting endeavour of our youngsters before the Olympics have even begun so, on that basis, I have few concerns about the Legacy! Sam Hain

6:19pm Sat 31 Mar 12

Sam Hain says...

PS: mdj, I do want to see the law upheld and I have conceded in previous postings that I think the way the council handled this issue was little short of a fiasco. Having said that, two wrongs don't make a right and as pragmatism seems to be the name of the game (or The Games) here I'd rather see everyone calm down, the facility completed for the Olympics (which, as I've pointed out to Claxon Foghorn above, already seem to be making a positive impact for our young people) and a re-grouping of protest if the site is not made good as promised. I'm sure we're all disappoionted that due process was swept aside but this present, and may I say somewhat belated, protest merely looks mean-spirited and vexatious.
PS: mdj, I do want to see the law upheld and I have conceded in previous postings that I think the way the council handled this issue was little short of a fiasco. Having said that, two wrongs don't make a right and as pragmatism seems to be the name of the game (or The Games) here I'd rather see everyone calm down, the facility completed for the Olympics (which, as I've pointed out to Claxon Foghorn above, already seem to be making a positive impact for our young people) and a re-grouping of protest if the site is not made good as promised. I'm sure we're all disappoionted that due process was swept aside but this present, and may I say somewhat belated, protest merely looks mean-spirited and vexatious. Sam Hain

4:25pm Sun 1 Apr 12

mdj says...

'..and may I say somewhat belated, protest merely looks mean-spirited and vexatious..'
But the protest was very timely, Sam, because it's stopped this unlawful depradation in its tracks! And if you've spoken to them, as I did today, you'll see no mess, or disrespect for the area.
The Olympic organisers have had 8 years to sort this out, and think they can dump their problems on people who won't fight back. They got it wrong, and local people should be proud.
The Council should be ashamed of the way it's happy to break the law, but will always suck up to the big guy, so long as they can be in the photo too. LBWF too often shows the psychopathy of an infant-school bully.
I wonder what advice you'd have had for those local people who tore down the enclosures a hundred years ago, without whom the Marshes would not now be open space for all to enjoy? A bit more 'pragmatism'?
'..and may I say somewhat belated, protest merely looks mean-spirited and vexatious..' But the protest was very timely, Sam, because it's stopped this unlawful depradation in its tracks! And if you've spoken to them, as I did today, you'll see no mess, or disrespect for the area. The Olympic organisers have had 8 years to sort this out, and think they can dump their problems on people who won't fight back. They got it wrong, and local people should be proud. The Council should be ashamed of the way it's happy to break the law, but will always suck up to the big guy, so long as they can be in the photo too. LBWF too often shows the psychopathy of an infant-school bully. I wonder what advice you'd have had for those local people who tore down the enclosures a hundred years ago, without whom the Marshes would not now be open space for all to enjoy? A bit more 'pragmatism'? mdj

7:49pm Sun 1 Apr 12

Sam Hain says...

I haven't visited the site, mdj, or had any desire to do so but reports and pictures seem to show that deep foundations have already been dug. For intervention to have been timely, surely the protesters should have been on site weeks ago lying in front of the diggers. We now have a bloody great hole in the ground and no training facility to show for the 'depradations'. That sounds like a pyrrhic victory to me. Maybe instead of sitting around in the sun the protesters should take the sort of direct action you so admire in the anti-enclosure activists of yesteryear and fill the hole in again!
I haven't visited the site, mdj, or had any desire to do so but reports and pictures seem to show that deep foundations have already been dug. For intervention to have been timely, surely the protesters should have been on site weeks ago lying in front of the diggers. We now have a bloody great hole in the ground and no training facility to show for the 'depradations'. That sounds like a pyrrhic victory to me. Maybe instead of sitting around in the sun the protesters should take the sort of direct action you so admire in the anti-enclosure activists of yesteryear and fill the hole in again! Sam Hain

8:29pm Sun 1 Apr 12

mdj says...

'..and fill the hole in again!'

Whereupon you'd immediately blame them for unlawfully sabotaging the Olympics, having only just a moment ago blamed them for not protesting earlier!
The protesters are enjoying what may be a brief rest in the sun, while the worshippers of power retreat from their own illegality. (My guess is that they'll look for someone else to bully.) Suddenly you are urging them to stage a mass trespass to stop work you want to see done.

You really do want it both (or indeed, all) ways, regardless even of what you said in the previous sentence.
'..and fill the hole in again!' Whereupon you'd immediately blame them for unlawfully sabotaging the Olympics, having only just a moment ago blamed them for not protesting earlier! The protesters are enjoying what may be a brief rest in the sun, while the worshippers of power retreat from their own illegality. (My guess is that they'll look for someone else to bully.) Suddenly you are urging them to stage a mass trespass to stop work you want to see done. You really do want it both (or indeed, all) ways, regardless even of what you said in the previous sentence. mdj

10:51pm Sun 1 Apr 12

Sam Hain says...

No, no, no, mdj, this simply won't do. I've already made my position crystal clear, which is that the work, having started, should be allowed to be completed. I'm simply seeking to highlight the weakness, indeed the reductio ad absurdum, of your own position. Had the protesters' intervention been 'timely' as you suggest, the diggers would never have got on site in the first place. I'm not advocating civil disobedience, much less lawbreaking, simply pointing out that this is what it might have taken to stop the works before they started. By the time Occupy London latched onto this as their next cause celebre most of the groundwork had already been done. This being the case, as I said before, and will say again as you selectively seem to have ignored it, is that the time to mount a proper protest will be if they fail to remove the structure and make good the site after the Games have finished. What's going on now is so much posturing flim-flam.
No, no, no, mdj, this simply won't do. I've already made my position crystal clear, which is that the work, having started, should be allowed to be completed. I'm simply seeking to highlight the weakness, indeed the reductio ad absurdum, of your own position. Had the protesters' intervention been 'timely' as you suggest, the diggers would never have got on site in the first place. I'm not advocating civil disobedience, much less lawbreaking, simply pointing out that this is what it might have taken to stop the works before they started. By the time Occupy London latched onto this as their next cause celebre most of the groundwork had already been done. This being the case, as I said before, and will say again as you selectively seem to have ignored it, is that the time to mount a proper protest will be if they fail to remove the structure and make good the site after the Games have finished. What's going on now is so much posturing flim-flam. Sam Hain

11:55pm Sun 1 Apr 12

mdj says...

'I'm not advocating civil disobedience, much less lawbreaking..'
...but always happy to side with authority, even when they are the lawbreakers in question. I don't think it's just the Olympic land-grabbers who need to stop digging, Sam.
'I'm not advocating civil disobedience, much less lawbreaking..' ...but always happy to side with authority, even when they are the lawbreakers in question. I don't think it's just the Olympic land-grabbers who need to stop digging, Sam. mdj

11:13am Mon 2 Apr 12

Sam Hain says...

Whatever, mdj. Let's draw a line under this now as we're in grave danger of turning into a pair of trolls!
Whatever, mdj. Let's draw a line under this now as we're in grave danger of turning into a pair of trolls! Sam Hain

4:19pm Wed 4 Apr 12

BruceStroganov says...

the peaceful protestsers of the marshes are fine but the professional troublemakers from the Occupy group are destroying the land they are supposedly 'protecting' by leaving rubbish everywhere, chopping down tress for firewood and digging holes to relieve themselves, they couldnt care less about the land.
the peaceful protestsers of the marshes are fine but the professional troublemakers from the Occupy group are destroying the land they are supposedly 'protecting' by leaving rubbish everywhere, chopping down tress for firewood and digging holes to relieve themselves, they couldnt care less about the land. BruceStroganov

4:24pm Wed 4 Apr 12

Redfox says...

Firstly let's hope Sam Hain contributes to the discussion about "toilet provision" and/or any other unsavoury behaviour by 'guests' camping on the council leased land at Low Hall Sports Ground ! I hope SH patrols that site regularly to spot any indiscressions.
Next, compared to the occupy St Paul's occasion - THIS particular occupation at Leyton Marsh is worthwhile because it IS GREEN LAND and formerly, since time began public open space with complete freedom to roam at will. Did you know that a further P/A has been put forward to scoop a further 15cm off the ground below the grassed level? Why?
So far LVRPA have taken the 'micky' about all the green land thereabouts.
To start with they opened a riding school just at the front portion of land. Then, simply because the horses trod down all the grass in the paddock area they had fenced off, they took more land at the back and enclosed that just mind you, for "pasture". Take a look nowadays and the majority of that section is devoid of grass - some pasture! Not only that but they constructed a mini 'Hickstead jump' without planning application to the local authority, LBWF. Why was that built on land they wanted for "pasture"? It might be interesting to learn whether, when the riuding school is using the jump facility do they comply fully with H&S rules & regs? For instance having fully qualified medical staff in place all the time in case of accidents, just as they need to at the real Hickstead showground?
I suppose Sam also agrees with the useage at LBWF agreement to the greenfield saites at Ive Farm Sports ground (camping) and Draper's Field sports ground (v.i.p. and corporate sponsor's catering facilities) the latter tarmaced over the grass.
Just how much more land do LVRPA want to enclose Sam?
When would YOU call a stop?
Can Sam prove that replacement of all these parcels of land being returned to their former state is GUARANTEED IN WRITING, and that the signatories to the documents will actually be still be 'in office' after 2012 to carry it out?
Firstly let's hope Sam Hain contributes to the discussion about "toilet provision" and/or any other unsavoury behaviour by 'guests' camping on the council leased land at Low Hall Sports Ground ! I hope SH patrols that site regularly to spot any indiscressions. Next, compared to the occupy St Paul's occasion - THIS particular occupation at Leyton Marsh is worthwhile because it IS GREEN LAND and formerly, since time began public open space with complete freedom to roam at will. Did you know that a further P/A has been put forward to scoop a further 15cm off the ground below the grassed level? Why? So far LVRPA have taken the 'micky' about all the green land thereabouts. To start with they opened a riding school just at the front portion of land. Then, simply because the horses trod down all the grass in the paddock area they had fenced off, they took more land at the back and enclosed that just mind you, for "pasture". Take a look nowadays and the majority of that section is devoid of grass - some pasture! Not only that but they constructed a mini 'Hickstead jump' without planning application to the local authority, LBWF. Why was that built on land they wanted for "pasture"? It might be interesting to learn whether, when the riuding school is using the jump facility do they comply fully with H&S rules & regs? For instance having fully qualified medical staff in place all the time in case of accidents, just as they need to at the real Hickstead showground? I suppose Sam also agrees with the useage at LBWF agreement to the greenfield saites at Ive Farm Sports ground (camping) and Draper's Field sports ground (v.i.p. and corporate sponsor's catering facilities) the latter tarmaced over the grass. Just how much more land do LVRPA want to enclose Sam? When would YOU call a stop? Can Sam prove that replacement of all these parcels of land being returned to their former state is GUARANTEED IN WRITING, and that the signatories to the documents will actually be still be 'in office' after 2012 to carry it out? Redfox

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