CAMPAIGNERS plan to appeal against a £24,000 bill for questioning a decision to allow an Olympic training centre to be built on public land.

Save Leyton Marsh group were ordered to pay the legal costs after a High Court judge rejected its application for a judicial review to establish whether the authority had acted lawfully in giving planning permission for a temporary basketball court on the green space off Lea Bridge Road.

But the group claims the costs - £20,142 for lawyers acting on behalf of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) who built the centre and £4,141 for the council's legal team - are excessive and that its members cannot meet them.

Spokeswoman Caroline Day said: "We're just ordinary people. If they pursue these costs they could screw people's lives up, there's no doubt about it. They could make people lose their homes.

"It's really worrying. - it's punishment for trying to defend our green land. It's to deter people from taking action unless they have thousands and thousands of pounds, so only the rich get justice. That's no justice at all."

The ODA's plan was controversially approved in February despite a petition against it signed by 1,250 people, with the majority of councillors agreeing with the ODA that the Olympics created "exceptional circumstances".

The protesters had claimed there were no exceptional circumstances because there were several alternative sites at which the athletes could have trained, such as nearby leisure facilities.

But a High Court judge sided with the council and ODA.

Save Leyton Marsh are also calling for improved basketball courts in Leyton to provide a lasting legacy for local people, especially young children, after the Games finish.

Miss Day said: "They have got to provide something or they have just left a mess behind. It would really benefit the kids if something was built."

Members joined former Olympian British basketball star Carl Miller next to the marsh on Monday, July 23, to play basketball and call for facilities on Millfields Park, adjacent to the marsh, to be improved.

An ODA spokesman said: “We did not claim or seek the cost award of £20,000 – the amount awarded was determined by the court, acknowledging in its order that the application was out of time, and had no real prospect of success or real purpose.

"It is not unusual for costs to be awarded where an application for permission to apply for judicial review has been unsuccessful.”

Click here to follow the Waltham Forest Guardian on Twitter