Residents instruct human rights law firm
The residents of Clays Lane Estate at Stratford, East London will be at the High Court in London today to challenge the terms of the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) which was made by the London Development Agency (LDA) which will evict them from their social housing project to enable the Olympic Village to be built.
Built in the 1970s, the Clays Lane residential estate was Europe's second largest purpose built housing cooperative consisting of 450 units. The residents, many of whom are vulnerable members of society, were promised that they would be re-housed in equivalent, if not better, housing.
Human rights solicitors Irwin Mitchell
They argue that this promise has been broken and have instructed Irwin Mitchell solicitors to appeal the terms of the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) stating that it contravenes their Human Rights.
A Public Inquiry took place last year to determine how much land should be allocated for the Olympics. The residents opposition to the CPO was defeated at the Inquiry, and confirmed by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling. However they had been promised that they would be re-housed in accordance with their specific, and distinct, needs.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone in response to a question from a London Assembly Member said on 16 November 2005 that he was:
Committed to Clays Lane Residents being given a range of re-housing options that is expected to lead to an improvement in their current accommodation¦
It is these options, the Clays Lane residents argue, that have failed to materialise.
The Chair of the Residents Committee, Ian Sandison, said:
The estate is a unique environment for its residents, many of who 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.
However 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.
Human rights expert Andrew Lockley
Andrew Lockley, Head of Public Law at Irwin Mitchell solicitors said: Many of the residents are extremely worried about how to find equivalent housing elsewhere in London. Whilst the huge financial costs of finding accommodation in London are bad enough, many of the residents rely upon the support a community such as this gives to every resident. Despite public assurances from the Mayor of London, the LDA and others, nothing equivalent has been offered.