Thursday 5 August 2010

Leyton's Drapers Field To Be Tarmaced For Olympics

More east London public space surrendered for the benefit of the Olympics - from the Evening Standard:

A park used by about 100,000 people a year is set to be tarmaced over and used as a storage depot for the London Olympics.

Residents will lose the use of Drapers Field in Leyton for 16 months after Waltham Forest council proposed leasing it to the Olympic Delivery Authority.

The council admitted there would be significant loss of amenities but said it was in talks with the ODA to gain substantial compensation.

Park users, including the Norlington School for Boys and 23 clubs and teams, face upheaval as the council searches for alternative sites.

The chairman of governors at Norlington, whose previous pupils include former England cricket captain Graham Gooch and TV star Jonathan Ross, said the plans were “absolutely horrendous”.

Stephen Pierpoint said: “It's an amazing contradiction that in trying to promote sports they are preventing our pupils from playing sports.”

Leyton councillor Bob Sullivan, who leads the Lib-Dem group on Waltham Forest council, said he doubted the compensation would be satisfactory.

He said: “It's a disgrace. We're supposed to be an Olympic borough. Norlington School for Boys uses the field four days a week and they are going to find it difficult to find somewhere else to go that is affordable.”

If the lease is agreed, Drapers Field would close to the public next year and not reopen until December 2012.

A perimeter fence will be erected and the grass tarmaced over for “back of house facilities” to supply the athletes' village. The deal is subject to planning permission which has not yet been applied for.

The ODA has already requisitioned part of Hackney Marshes which are being converted into a VIP coach park for the Games before being restored with enhanced facilities.

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