The Olympic Effect

By Rob Last edited 163 months ago
The Olympic Effect

What Paula Radcliffe paused to do in the streets of London, bid organisers are doing to the locals.

It's possibly the most contrived headline of the week, but it does head a pretty decent article on the damaging effects a London-based 2012 Olympics could have on east London.

The article, from today's Times, looks at the 300 or so businesses which could be "cruely evicted" if the bid succeeds:

Forman’s is the oldest-established salmon curer in Great Britain, a family business dating back to 1905...In 2002, the expansion and reopening of its plant after a fire was important enough to attract a grant from the London Development Agency (LDA). Within a year the same people were telling Forman’s to pack up and clear off, another victim of London’s Olympic zealots.

And it's not all salmon curers; there are concrete crushing companies, truck firms, skip firms, and cleaning firms. The Times counts 292 businesses in all, none of which have yet been given a definite compensation package agreement.

But hang on, we haven't even won the thing yet? Can't we cross that bridge when we come to it? Well, apparently not. If we win the LDA will be pretty much obliged to purchase land without any protracted talks.

But whet about the 11,000 jobs the redevelopment would create? Just 11,000 more redundacies once the construction work is done, argues The Times.

There are many other issues involved here, for example: what about the rehousing of vulnerable businesses:

"The LDA specifically said it would rehouse businesses by swapping the land in Marshgate Lane for land of its own. Whether by conspiracy or cock-up, this has not happened. Now they are being left to their own devices to build factories if any land can be found."

But in the end the damage may have already been done by bureaucratic mishandlings and good, old-fashioned ignorance. Unfortunately, it looks as though, if we win the bid come July, things may only get worse.

Last Updated 04 May 2005