LEYTONSTONE: Judge to rule on Olympic missiles

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Soldiers on top of Fred Wigg Tower during an Olympics military exercise. Soldiers on top of Fred Wigg Tower during an Olympics military exercise.

RESIDENTS furious about a proposed missile base on their tower block during the Olympics will have their day in court next week.

High Court judge Justice Burton has agreed to hold a hearing on Monday July 9 to decide whether the plans for the Fred Wigg Tower in Montague Road, Leytonstone, can go ahead.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), which tried to get the legal challenge thrown out at a preliminary hearing last week, is considering placing missile launchers on several tall buildings in London to protect the Games from potential airborne terrorist attacks.

But residents at the 17-storey tower fear that the missiles will make them a target and have employed legal firm Howe and Co to try and secure an injunction which would scupper the move.

Howe and Co solicitor Kieran O’Rourke told the Guardian: "We're confident that the government has a case to answer on the total lack of consultation with residents.

"We also feel there are plenty of better sites - I can think of a few bankers' towers in the Docklands which seem more suitable.

"The court has earmarked half a day and the hearing will consist of legal arguments.

"The court wants to determine this issue as quickly as possible, as the Olympics are right on top of us - rather like these missiles would be."

Howe and Co also claim that the MoD failed to carry out an assessment under the Equality Act and that the plans breach the human rights of those in the block.

The residents involved say they do not want to speak to the media until after the hearing, but Howe and Co senior partner Martin Howe said: "It is incredible that the MoD think it acceptable to present women, children and men living in a block of flats in a densely populated residential area of East London with the fait accompli of having a live high explosive missile salvo above their heads whilst they go about their daily chores and whilst they sleep at night.

"Security of the Olympics is of course extremely important but could the MOD not find any other way of protecting the Olympic village than by putting the lives of hundreds of innocent council tenants at risk?

"The risk of accidental explosion or indeed incoming terrorist attack on the block of flats is now a real issue."

Another potential site for the missiles is land between Waltham Way and the William Girling Reservoir in Chingford.

The MoD says it is yet to make a final decision on whether to install the missiles on homes.

It has not responded to media requests for a comment about the legal action.

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