Over a hundred residents of the Clays Lane Estate in Stratford, East London are affected by the High Courts decision today not to quash the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) which is to force them out of their homes so that the Olympic facilities for the games in 2012 can be built. An appeal had been brought by John Sole who has lived on the estate for 13 years.
The CPO was made by the London Development Agency (LDA) in 2005 and later confirmed by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, in December 2006 following an intense and lengthy Public Inquiry.
The Clays Lane Estate is one of the lands to be compulsorily purchased for the Olympic Development but was met with strong opposition from residents who feared that they would not receive a fair deal. Built in the 1970s, it was Europe's second largest purpose built housing cooperative for single people, comprising of 450 units. The unique style of community living facilitates mutual aid amongst the residents, some of whom are vulnerable and in ill health. Whilst many of the residents accept that they will have to move, they regarded this challenge as their only hope to achieve an equitable outcome from the re-location process.
Public Law expert
Andrew Lockley, Partner and Head of Public Law at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said:
The last few years have been a struggle for my client whose only objective is to see the benefits that he and other residents currently enjoy acknowledged and maintained. He has reluctantly come to terms with the fact that he will be evicted from his much valued home of the last 13 years but decided to take his case to the High Court on behalf of many of the residents in order to ensure that historical promises made by the London Development Agency and personal assurances from the Mayor of London, will be upheld.
He was promised that he would be re-housed in equivalent, if not better, housing but so far these promises have failed to materialise. He was informed that he could move as part of a group in order to salvage what he could of his community but is now being told that he must accept whatever is on offer.
My client now feels that he will be forced to accept accommodation, however unsuitable it may be, in order to avoid becoming homeless, and that once he is re-housed, any hope of being reunited with fellow residents will rapidly diminish.
The Chair of the Residents Committee, Ian Sandison, is also very disappointed. He has supported Mr Sole from the beginning and said:
The estate is a unique environment for its residents, many of whom rely on the community for support and have lived in the community for many years. It is a site which would be an ideal model for the type of eco-friendly and socially inclusive housing developments Gordon Brown has recently put at the centre of his agenda.
We are now resigned to the fact that we must move but we need to maintain for our residents their standard of living and social inclusiveness that help many of our members to function and feel part of society.
Mr Sole is urgently considering with his legal advisers whether to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal.