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WALTHAMSTOW: Olympic campsite plan in disarray
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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