Corporation upsets locals over Olympic allotments

Officers at Waltham Forest explain that argument is about the appropriate use of land that should be used for sport.

Harton: says locals will be upset
Harton: says locals will be upset

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has upset local allotment holders by going back on promises to build allotments on the Olympic site.

At a planning meeting last week, the LLDC decided to allow space set aside for 1.2ha of allotment plots to be used for back-up sporting facilities rather than allocating it to Manor Garden Society, which left the Olympic site in 2007 when it was developed (HW, 9 December 2013).

The LLDC food strategy document makes reference to provision being made for the allotments, which "will be located in the Eton Manor and southern areas of the park".

After the planning hearing, Manor Garden Allotment Society chairman Mark Harton said: "They've made a big mistake in respect of allotment provision in the Olympic Park. They should have been shouting about it.

"They could have said that they were bringing the local community back into the Olympic Park, but all they've done now is just upset the local people.

"We will have to decide now if we have the energy and resources to challenge the decision, but we could look at a judicial review over the planning consent."

Replacement allotments at Marsh Lane provided by Waltham Forest Borough Council were labelled as "temporary" and "inadequate" by Harton.

Some 0.9ha of allotment space has been provided in a separate area of the London Olympics site for a different allotment group.

Waltham Forest performance and service improvement officer Leon Welford said: "We're not anti-allotments. We believe allotments are a fantastic thing. This is about the appropriate use of land in Eton Manor. It should be a global centre for sport. We don't believe this is the right place for allotments."

FOOD STRATEGY DOCUMENT ORIGINAL PROVISION SET OUT FOR ALLOTMENTS

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) food strategy document 2012 (6.9.2) stated: "The LLDC has made provision for 'productive landscapes' with food-growing opportunities within some areas of the park.

"Planning permission submitted by the ODA for 2.1ha of allotments has been granted. This represents a small increase than previously existed for the Manor Garden allotments. The allotments will be located in the Eton Manor and southern areas of the park. The LLDC is actively engaging with the Manor Gardening Society in the provision of these allotments."

Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 biodiversity review of the park welcomed an "increase in provision" to 2.1ha on the site but said "there are opportunities for greater food growing on the Olympic Park in legacy". Designer Hargreaves/LDA Associates said in 2008 there should be "2.1ha of allotments in legacy".


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