Judge told of Olympics basketball site 'asbestos'

 

Environmental campaigners told a High Court judge today that an Olympic basketball training facility was being built on parkland filled with "lead and asbestos".

They said the facility in Waltham Forest, north London, was being put up in an area "landfilled" after the Second World War and workers were disturbing "contaminated" earth.

Demonstrators raised concerns as Mr Justice Arnold - who has said he has tickets for an Olympic basketball game - renewed an order "restraining" them from engaging in "unlawful activity" at the site.

The judge granted the injunction on April 4 after lawyers representing the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) - a public body responsible for building Games venues - said protesters were stopping workers getting to the site at Leyton Marsh, which is part of a regional park.

He renewed it at a High Court hearing in London today after hearing arguments from the ODA and protesters.

The judge was a told that the ODA had licensed the site from park owners. Planners had given permission on the basis that the facility would be demolished and land restored to its previous condition after the Games.

He said he had to balance the ODA's rights under that agreement and demonstrators' rights to free speech and assembly.

"The injunction doesn't prevent lawful or peaceful protest," said Mr Justice Arnold. "The court's function is to uphold the law."

He added: "It seems to me it is necessary and appropriate to grant the relief sought by the ODA."

The judge said the injunction would remain until after the Games or a trial of issues in dispute or further court order.

A number of protesters outlined their concerns to the judge at a two-hour hearing today.

One said the area had been used as a landfill site after the Second World War and "contaminated land" was "being disturbed".

Another, Daniel Ashman, said the area was "full of lead and asbestos".

Demonstrators said the parkland was "sacred" to locals as a "place to relax and take refuge from the noisy urban environment".

Protester Simon Moore told the judge: "It is priceless. It serves an essential human need that no building could."

Demonstrators said they were not opposed the Olympics but to development.

They complained that not enough local people had been consulted about plans for the facility.

Mr Justice Arnold praised the demonstrators' clarity and courtesy and said they had "made their points well".

Earlier this month, demonstrators were evicted from the site after separate legal moves by parkland owners.

A High Court official granted a possession order to the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.

The official, Master Matthew Marsh, made the order after being told that the protesters had set up tents, collected wood and made fires in breach of park byelaws.

Lawyers representing the ODA told the judge today that four people had been arrested when the site was cleared following Master Marsh's order.

They said the continuation of the injunction was necessary because there was a "serious risk" that "unlawful activities" would continue.

The judge was told that protesters had moved to a nearby verge owned by a local authority after being evicted.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain