WALTHAMSTOW: Olympic campsite plan in disarray

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Low Hall Sports Ground in Walthamstow. Low Hall Sports Ground in Walthamstow.

CONTROVERSIAL plans to create a large Olympic campsite with festival events on green space have been blocked despite an 11th hour decision by the police to withdraw objections.

Last year the council secretly signed a contract to lease Low Hall Sports Ground in Walthamstow to Big Events Camping Ltd, hoping that a share of the profits from the deal would help pay the estimated £1.5million bill for its 'Big 6' series of events to celebrate the Olympics.

BEC, whose major shareholders organise events renowned for alcohol consumption and raunchy entertainment, planned to run a camp, bar and live entertainment for up to 6,000 people.

Borough commander Steve Wisbey previously said he was anxious about the proposal, citing concerns over public safety, and called for a number of conditions to be imposed on approval, including barring the sale of alcohol after 9pm.

But a police lawyer informed the licensing committee on Tuesday that the force was now content that concerns had been addressed, although the 9pm cut-off point had not been imposed, paving the way for approval.

A number of people living near the site objected to the plan, insisting the camp would cause widespread disruption and encourage crime.

And committee members took just minutes to reject the licence application but did not say why.

They are expected to provide a written explanation in the next few days.

Residents expressed surprise and relief at the decision.

Diane Hackney, 52, of nearby Clacton Road, said: "It's an amazing result.

"For me it would have genuinely affected my health and made me trapped in my own home, so it's a huge relief.

"We're so grateful that the councillors have actually listened to residents."

Fellow neighbour Dave Back, 46, said: "If it was just a campsite or a one-off weekend event that'd be far more acceptable, but to have three weeks of it would just be too much.

"I wasn't expecting that outcome so it is a huge surprise".

BEC has 21 days to appeal but refused to comment after the meeting.

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Comments (6)

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11:58am Wed 18 Apr 12

mdj says...

'Last year the council secretly signed a contract to lease the land to the company, hoping that a share of the profits from the deal would help pay the estimated £1.5million bill for its 'Big 6' series of events to celebrate the Olympics.'

To me this is the core issue: does LB Waltham Forest have a gambling licence? Do local government finance rules allow unfunded commercial speculation?
It's so ironic that our Councillors, who would rightly criticise the City for irresponsible speculation with other peoples' money, have taken on a heavy commitment (whose only certain beneficiary is a major funder of the Labour Party, by strange coincidence) balanced against a purely speculative return. Even if the Big 6 events were charging money at the gate this would be a 'courageous' act; but then, our Councillors are not offering to underwrite any shortfall out of their own pockets, are they?
Perhaps our Council should be regulated by the FSA?
'Last year the council secretly signed a contract to lease the land to the company, hoping that a share of the profits from the deal would help pay the estimated £1.5million bill for its 'Big 6' series of events to celebrate the Olympics.' To me this is the core issue: does LB Waltham Forest have a gambling licence? Do local government finance rules allow unfunded commercial speculation? It's so ironic that our Councillors, who would rightly criticise the City for irresponsible speculation with other peoples' money, have taken on a heavy commitment (whose only certain beneficiary is a major funder of the Labour Party, by strange coincidence) balanced against a purely speculative return. Even if the Big 6 events were charging money at the gate this would be a 'courageous' act; but then, our Councillors are not offering to underwrite any shortfall out of their own pockets, are they? Perhaps our Council should be regulated by the FSA? mdj
  • Score: 0

12:42pm Wed 18 Apr 12

EastEndLass says...

I will be interested to know whether the camp site can go ahead as just a campsite with no entertainment and alcohol license.

I don't think residents were AS worried about a campsite, but this was planned as a 3 week long FESTIVAL.
I will be interested to know whether the camp site can go ahead as just a campsite with no entertainment and alcohol license. I don't think residents were AS worried about a campsite, but this was planned as a 3 week long FESTIVAL. EastEndLass
  • Score: 0

3:55pm Wed 18 Apr 12

warpdog says...

mdj can you email me at warpdog@warpdog.co.u
k - i have a question? :)
mdj can you email me at warpdog@warpdog.co.u k - i have a question? :) warpdog
  • Score: 0

3:04pm Thu 19 Apr 12

Silent Majority 2009 says...

Why is WF Planning Committee so out of touch? They approve a tower block on the Walthamstow Car park site against huge opposition, they agree to the Olympic Basketball training facility on Leyton Marsh against huge opposition and agree to Low Hall sports ground being used for a campsite against local opposition. What is the point of the planning committee if it continually ignores residents views. I would have put money on them approving the Walthamstow Stadium development 4:3 but now Boris has got involved what will this committee do now? It will be interesting to hear them supporting the objecting residents!
Why is WF Planning Committee so out of touch? They approve a tower block on the Walthamstow Car park site against huge opposition, they agree to the Olympic Basketball training facility on Leyton Marsh against huge opposition and agree to Low Hall sports ground being used for a campsite against local opposition. What is the point of the planning committee if it continually ignores residents views. I would have put money on them approving the Walthamstow Stadium development 4:3 but now Boris has got involved what will this committee do now? It will be interesting to hear them supporting the objecting residents! Silent Majority 2009
  • Score: 0

3:04pm Thu 19 Apr 12

Silent Majority 2009 says...

Why is WF Planning Committee so out of touch? They approve a tower block on the Walthamstow Car park site against huge opposition, they agree to the Olympic Basketball training facility on Leyton Marsh against huge opposition and agree to Low Hall sports ground being used for a campsite against local opposition. What is the point of the planning committee if it continually ignores residents views. I would have put money on them approving the Walthamstow Stadium development 4:3 but now Boris has got involved what will this committee do now? It will be interesting to hear them supporting the objecting residents!
Why is WF Planning Committee so out of touch? They approve a tower block on the Walthamstow Car park site against huge opposition, they agree to the Olympic Basketball training facility on Leyton Marsh against huge opposition and agree to Low Hall sports ground being used for a campsite against local opposition. What is the point of the planning committee if it continually ignores residents views. I would have put money on them approving the Walthamstow Stadium development 4:3 but now Boris has got involved what will this committee do now? It will be interesting to hear them supporting the objecting residents! Silent Majority 2009
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Thu 19 Apr 12

Nairn says...

Silent Majority: there is opposition against the campsite but we can't make any formal representations against it as the council have sneakily leased it for 27 days, which is 1 day short of the 28 days needed for planning permission. So we have no opportunity to officially oppose that. The license to hold festivals and activities on Low Hall was subject to a license being granted and it was not. Two different committees with two different remits - planning and licensing. Just saying...
Silent Majority: there is opposition against the campsite but we can't make any formal representations against it as the council have sneakily leased it for 27 days, which is 1 day short of the 28 days needed for planning permission. So we have no opportunity to officially oppose that. The license to hold festivals and activities on Low Hall was subject to a license being granted and it was not. Two different committees with two different remits - planning and licensing. Just saying... Nairn
  • Score: 0

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