Firms win Games eviction reprieve

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The Independent Online

One-third of the businesses threatened with eviction because of the 2012 London Olympic Games have won a reprieve after changes to the Games blueprint were unveiled yesterday.

Ninety firms which occupied an industrial site near Stratford in east London were to be forced out by next summer to make way for temporary car parking.

But the businesses on Fish Island, some of which claimed they were being moved more for the potential value of their land than for the two-week event, were told they could stay.

The changes mean that 206 firms still have to move because they are on a 500-acre site earmarked for the Olympic Park. Most are on the Marshgate Lane industrial estate, which is also home to H Forman, Britain's oldest salmon smokery, whose owner Lance Forman has been at the forefront of a campaign for improved relocation terms.

The revised plan for the site, six months after London won the 2012 Olympics bid, was unveiled yesterday by Games organisers who said it would hasten the building project and lead to unspecified cost savings.

Key elements of the Games will be moved to the Stratford City complex, a planned residential and retail complex covering 110 acres on the site of the Olympic Park. Planning permission was granted to the private consortium that runs Stratford City two years ago on the basis that London would not get the Games, but that has now been updated.

The athletes' village will be incorporated into the development, as will car parking. Parking was originally earmarked for Fish Island but will now be in a multi-storey facility. Media facilities will move from just outside the park's southern perimeter to a central site.

David Higgins, the chief executive of the Olympic Development Agency, who is in charge of the park's infrastructure, said that the changes would not detract from the site's legacy as set out in the bidding process.