Plot holders fear Olympic site squeeze

Allotment holders angry over Waltham Forest Council's planning application revising landscape layout at Eton Manor.

Mark Harton: Manor Garden Society
Mark Harton: Manor Garden Society

Allotment holders at the London Olympic site who were evicted before the 2012 games have claimed that promises to rehouse them are set to be broken.

Manor Garden Society left its Bully Fen allotments site in 2007 for Olympic building and they were promised 2.1ha within the 200ha Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park by 2014 as part of the legacy plan.

But society secretary Mark Harton said while Olympic authorities have left one 0.9ha parcel of land for 30 allotment holders at Pudding Mill Lane in the south of the site, a plan for a 1.2ha site 1.5km away at Eton Manor is under threat from a revised landscape layout.

Waltham Forest Council and the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority now plan to "eliminate these allotments from Eton Manor", he added.

Harton said the authorities "don't want these allotments there and if their application is approved by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) it means they will renege on an agreement to provide 2.1ha of land".

The society has objected to the application "on the basis that they won't be able to discharge their obligations". The Manor Garden allotment holders now cultivate plots at a temporary site 2km from their original plots at Marsh Lane in Waltham Forest.

Harton said the planned site for the allotments will become a wild flower meadow but warned that it could be used for "sporting provision" in the future. He wants a site within the park.

The 70 plot holders cultivated 82 plots at the original site next to the River Lea until 2007.

An LLDC representative said: "No decision has been made yet. An application from Waltham Forest will be considered by LLDC's planning committee in January."

Council response Alternative provision

A Waltham Forest Council representative said: "The council has submitted a planning application to the London Legacy Development Corporation proposing a revised landscape layout at Eton Manor.

"Our application is supported by the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority, who own the land, as well as a number of sports clubs and national sports federations who use the facilities at Eton Manor. The outcome is expected in January.

"We have also submitted a separate application to retain 65 allotment plots at Leyton Jubilee Park as off-site mitigation for the proposals at Eton Manor."

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