Olympic allotment return postponed

London Olympic authorities have been accused of letting down local allotment holders by delaying their return to the site until November 2015 at the earliest - a year after their own deadline passed.

The Olympic allotment site in September. Installation of plots, sheds and community building on the right. The area on the left, between the fencing and the white concrete wall (the completed DLR installation) is the section that needs completing.
The Olympic allotment site in September. Installation of plots, sheds and community building on the right. The area on the left, between the fencing and the white concrete wall (the completed DLR installation) is the section that needs completing.

The Olympic Delivery Authority promised in 2007 to provide 2.1 hectares of allotments within the Olympic Park by December 2014 for the 80 plotholders forced to leave their Bully Fenn site.

But Manor Gardens Society secretary Mark Harton says that two and a half years after the Games, the Olympic authorities "have failed to deliver on a single promise they made to the local communities in respect of allotment provision".

Earlier this year, allotment holders learnt they would be limited to a 0.9ha site at Pudding Mill Lane in the park, after Waltham Forest Council succeeded in an application to have a space designated for allotments set aside for overspill space for the new Eton Manor hockey and tennis centre.


The Pudding Mill Lane site features a community building, raised beds for local schools, and each plot had its own shed - but allotment holders are barred from using them.

Harton, who represents 80 plotholders, said: "When we visited there was at last a sense of optimism amongst people - the installation had been brought to semi-completion by the start of 2014 - but DLR had a licence to use part of the land until September 2014 and so we would have to wait. "September passed, TFL have finished their works, it's now December and we should be occupying the plots. I have recently been told by the London Legacy Development Corporation that due to contractual issues with DLR they can only commit to November 2015 for delivery. That's another entire season to wait.


"There is nothing to prevent these plots being available for the start of the next growing season, but it seem that once again we are way, way down on their list of priorities.


"Manor Garden Society were told that we were stakeholders in this process. I'm wondering when they may come up with somewhere to drive that stake."


A LLDC representative said: "
Due to the rail improvement works being undertaken by the DLR it has not been possible to carry out the remaining work required to finish the allotments. It was sensible for the DLR work to go ahead and avoid having to dig up the completed allotments again at a later date. We will continue to work closely with the allotment holders and the DLR to ensure that this programme can be met by November 2015."

Harton added: "Manor Gardens Society were told by the LLDC on several occasions that the works were completed by October. When we visited the site in October there were no DLR works plant on site - it had all been removed the previous week, and there was a single spoil ramp that was due to be removed the next week. We were told at the time that the works were complete by the LLDC community officer and that the contracts and licences for DLR to be on the site had expired - this by the officer who issues the licences.

"They have not 'worked closely with the allotment holders' on any aspect of the transition in my view, it feels like there is very little progression or support for the Society to either deliver the amenity or to ensure that it will fulfil the ambitions of its eventual users.


"The deadline to deliver 2.1ha of allotments within the Olympic Park, as promised is December 2014. To fail to deliver the Pudding Mill Lane site on time, 40 per cent of the promised provision is unacceptable and illustrates the LLDC's commitment to a community group that were once classified as stakeholders."


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