Nogoe Index – 26 January 2012 – “LOCOG is not the golden goose we thought it was” (said by one of the local councillors, speaking as a resident)
LOCOG fielded no less than 15 of their people for this meeting of the Greenwich Council planning board.
(The planning board itself comprises 9 local councillors, of which three – including the Leader of the Council – were absent from this meeting.)
Once again, all but two members of the planning board showed themselves to be utterly unequal to their responsibility towards and insensible to the privilege of serving the people of Greenwich.
They voted to give LOCOG the planning consents it sought, although no one is any nearer knowing what the maximum safe capacity of Greenwich Park is during the Olympics.
Another jaw-dropping development, though, concerns Circus Field. It has pleased LOCOG always to draw Circus Field on its maps as part of the “footprint” of Greenwich Park.
But Circus Field is not in the Crown Estate.
Circus Field is Crown land, which has not been exempt from planning law for many years, even if the “Crown body” organising the planning application happens to be the Crown Estate.
That means that ODA/LOCOG should have submitted an application to the Council that included detail of what they wanted to use Circus Field for, with plans;
and an Environmental Impact Assessment is not optional. Even when the “development site” is not a Site of Nature Conservation of Metropolitan Importance. Which Circus Field is.
Greenwich Council had a statutory duty to tell ODA/LOCOG that if they wanted to use Circus Field for the purposes of the Olympics, they must go through the statutory planning consultation process.
But, instead, the Council stood by while the ODA/LOCOG and Crown Estates between them organised a secret lease and under lease of Circus Field.
LOCOG will not disclose to anyone how much was paid for the lease and under-lease, or whether or not the lease included a promise to sell back and at the price paid.
(Ie when will the lease – as distinct from the under-lease – expire, and is the ODA going to make a profit out of this sale and resale of the lease of Metropolitan Common Land?)
LOCOG also refuses to let Greenwich Council legal department have copies of the lease and under-lease for their own records, even though the ODA (which has no money of its own,
everything it does is with taxpayers’ money, and the taxpayer underwrites the risk of everything that LOCOG does) and the Council are both public authorities.
Circus Field is also Metropolitan Common Land, and Greenwich Council has a statutory duty to prevent any part of Circus Field being enclosed.
ODA/LOCOG claim that the Olympics Act 2006 and the Localism Act 2011 give them the power to use Circus Field for the purposes of the Olympics.
But in the phrase “commons, open spaces and allotments” (used in both the Localism Act 2011 and the Olympics Act 2006), Metropolitan Common Land cannot be an implied term/category.
The ODA/LOCOG and the Crown Estates have misapplied the law and acted ultra vires.
The planning board decision of last Thursday is meaningless: Greenwich Council is NOT released from its statutory duty to prevent any part of Circus Field being enclosed.
The lease from Crown Estates is void and irrelevant because Circus Field is not in the Crown Estates.
Metropolitan Common Land is not implied in the Localism Act 2011 and the Olympics Act 2006