asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will take steps to avoid spending money allocated for the 2012 London Olympic Games on legal fees arising from the decision to rescind the original offer of alternative accommodation to Travellers who need to be relocated because their present site is required for purposes connected with the Olympic Games; and whether they will invite the parties concerned to revert to the original offer. [HL2804]
The London Development Agency (LDA) has worked with the London Borough of Newham for many months to prepare relocation options for the Traveller groups that live within the Olympic Park site in the Lower Lea Valley. Initially agreed options were a site at Major Road and a site at Leyton Road (Chobham Farm), both in Stratford.
The Newham Travellers expressed a strong desire to move together to one new site, and their preferred location was Chobham Farm. However, the landowner indicated that they would resist an application for a Travellers’ site in this locality. This would have made the site undeliverable within the timeframe required. The LDA therefore focused on Newham Council's preferred site at Major Road.
One Traveller lodged a judicial review (JR) challenging the LDA for not applying for planning permission for the relocation site at Chobham Farm. The JR was heard on 27 February 2007 and the judge delivered his decision in favour of the LDA on 1 March 2007. Legal costs were met from the LDA's approved budget of £1.4 billion for the acquisition and remediation of land for the games.
The London Borough of Newham resolved to grant planning permission for the Major Road on 1 March 2007. Development will begin shortly.