'The only Olympic legacy we'll have is fewer clients'


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The Independent Online

Graham Phelps doesn't have much time for the idea of an Olympic legacy.

"If we lose customers during the Olympics, we'll lose them forever," he says. "That's our Olympic legacy."

Mr Phelps is the manager of a small deliveries firm, based on the edge of the London Olympic site. When the family of nations descends on this corner of the capital for the Games this summer, he and other business owners in the area are unlikely to welcome them with open arms.

Phelps Transport, of White Post Lane in Hackney, is one of more than 40 local firms planning to sue the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) over the threat of traffic disruptions that they say could threaten the survival of some businesses.

"In rush hour we won't be able to work at all," Mr Phelps said.

Disruption during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including parking and loading restrictions and lane and road closures in parts of east London, will mean that the movement of goods, staff and services could be severely affected – driving away business and threatening livelihoods, some of the businesses backing the lawsuit said yesterday.

Kevin Farley, the manager of Pennywise Furniture wholesalers, also on Rothbury Road, said that three regular customers had called him yesterday alone, voicing concerns.

The London 2012 committee organised a meeting for local businesses last month and have assured firms that despite restrictions, they will still be able to operate. "We want to ensure people who live and work in the vicinity of our venues are able to continue going about their business with the minimum of disruption this summer," a Locog spokesman said.

A spokesperson for Hackney Council said: "We have been working with local business people to understand the challenges they are likely to face."