Mayor's office accused of land-grab for Olympics

Companies have claimed they have been ordered out of the area, even though the land they occupy is peripheral to the Games plans, because their property will rocket in value after the event is staged.

Firms employing hundreds of staff will be uprooted for such installations as a temporary car park, information booths and training grounds. Suspicion is growing that the Games are being used a Trojan horse for property developers.

The owner of a steel components factory has been offered £800,000 per acre to sell his land, even though neighbouring residential properties have a market value of up to £6m per acre. Richard Brundle's family-run steel firm, FH Brundle, which employs 40 staff on a 40,000 sq-ft site in the Bow Industrial Park, in the Lower Lea Valley, is scheduled to be relocated to make way for temporary tennis facilities. Mr Brundle believes that, when the Games are over, residential planning permission will be granted, resulting in large profits.

FH Brundle occupies part of a mile-long stretch alongside the Old River Lea which is restricted by planners to industrial use but would provide a lucrative waterside plot for apartments with views over the Olympic park. Several apartment blocks have been built in recent years just outside the proposed Olympic area and they command prices of £250,000 for a two-bedroom flat.

Mr Brundle said: "At the moment our property is in the path of an asphalt walkway, an information booth and tennis facility. Those things can change on the plans but you can be sure that there will be no change in getting us out. If I oppose this move then I have to go to a tribunal for a settlement and any payments will not be made for several years. What better stick to beat a company with?"

Many of the 50 or so businesses on the nearby Fish Island are dismayed they will have to relocate to make way for a temporary car park for the duration of the Games. They claim that Victoria Park would be the ideal alternative for such a site in the same way that a golf course opposite the All England Club is used for vehicles during Wimbledon fortnight.

The owner of the newly refurbished Lighthouse pub on Fish Island, who has spent £500,000 on improvements and claims he is being offered half of what the pub is worth by the LDA, suspects an ulterior motive. Navit Patel believes the area will be converted to flats and has said the plans are "all about after the Games as far as I'm concerned".

The claims have added to the list of grievances from about 300 companies employing about 5,000 people based on the Games site in the Lower Lea Valley which face compulsory purchase orders. A group of businesses based along Marshgate Lane, the site of the proposed Olympic stadium, picketed a recent meeting of the Greater London Authority. Only 24 of them have struck deals with the LDA so far, amid claims that there is a lack of alternative sites in the capital.

All the proposed deals are being carried out by the London Development Agency (LDA), which conducts land deals for the Mayor. A spokesman for the LDA said: "The legacy for this area is currently under development. This is an area where a specific plan has not been agreed." He insisted the LDA was offering market value for the land.

Neale Coleman, the Mayor's Olympics adviser, said: "All the land we need has been bought and it would be absurd for the LDA to be trying to buy a single square foot of land that is not absolutely necessary to deliver the Olympics. In terms of legacy, a large proportion of the land is going to be parkland or sports facilities."

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