2 Background |
Epping Forest Act 1878
2. The Epping Forest Act 1878 enabled, "the
Disafforestation of Epping Forest and the preservation and management
of the unenclosed parts thereof as an Open Space for the recreation
and enjoyment of the public; and for other purposes".
The preservation aspect followed concerns from the City of London
Corporation and others in the second half of the nineteenth century
that large areas of the Forest were being enclosed for development,
without due regard for commoners' rights or general recreational
needs. The Act entrusted the ownership and care of Epping Forest
to the City, and appointed the City of London Corporation as the
Conservator of Epping Forest. Its strictures still govern how
the Forest is managed today.
The Forest may also be subject to private rights of commoners
which are not covered by the Order.
3. Wanstead Flats, in the London Borough of Redbridge,
is the southern-most point of Epping Forest. Situated within the
built up areas of Wanstead, Leytonstone, Forest Gate and Manor
Park, Wanstead Flats is described in the Home Office Consultation
Document as "a much loved public open space, well used by
[a] variety of people for a whole range of recreational activities".
The consultation responses emphasised the high value the community
places on the area. The lobby group Save Wanstead Flats additionally
explained the history of the Flats, which is deeply significant
to the local people. Reiterating the concerns regarding enclosure
in the nineteenth century, they explained that resistance to enclosure
re-emerged in the aftermath of the Second World War, with the
successful campaign by the Wanstead Flats Defence Committee against
plans by West Ham Corporation to build new housing on the Flats.
In this context, it is unsurprising that the draft Legislative
Reform Order (LRO) has raised concerns within the local community.
Providing effective security for
the Olympic and Paralympic Games
4. In successfully bidding for the 2012 Olympic and
Paralympic Games, the Government signed a series of formal guarantees
to the International Olympic Committee to take "all necessary
financial, planning and operational measures" to secure their
safe and peaceful celebration.
Due to their sheer scale, the largest peacetime safety and security
event to date in the UK, the Games will pose significant and unprecedented
policing and security challenges. They will require over 10,000
police officers to be deployed on peak days.
5. The MPS has concluded that a secure Games can
best be achieved by using three geographically-based, purpose-built,
temporary MBDCs. These will each serve the North-East, South-East
and West London venues. MBDCs are a tried and tested way of marshalling
and briefing large numbers of police officers. They are temporary,
purpose-built structures designed to support large numbers of
officers for short periods of time and have been used for other
large scale events such as the Notting Hill Carnival.
6. The proposed North-East London MBDC would be the
largest of the three, supporting 3,500 officers a day at its peak.
It would cover venues including the Olympic Park, Victoria Park
where supporting Olympic events are taking place
and Stratford, the major transport hub. In order to meet the MPS's
operational requirements, a suitable site would have to fulfil
a number of criteria relating to security, access and distance
from the Olympic Park. These relate to matters such as the size
of the site, access to the site and proximity to main roads (including
secondary and heavy vehicle access), proximity to residential
and business premises which may be adversely affected, and risks
of natural hazards such as flooding.
7. There have been no previous events of this scale
in North-East London. As a result, in October 2009 the MPS with
the support of CgMs, a planning consultancy, began to assess sites
in the locality. Details of the sites considered and the site
selection procedure are contained in Annex H of the ED. This assessment
concluded that Wanstead Flats "is the best site to meet operational
requirements for a temporary MBDC to serve North East London",
and "there are no other suitable and available sites that
could perform this function materially better".
8. The City of London Corporation have formally considered
the proposal to utilise an area within Wanstead Flats and agreed
in principle to its use for the Centre as a one-off for the Games.
It has been agreed that the MPS will pay £170,000 to the
Corporation for the use of the land, which will fund access, planting
and landscaping improvements on the Flats. This sum is payment
in lieu of rent, and is additional to the cost of making good
the site which will be borne separately by the MPS. In a response
to a written question from us, the Department explained that the
sum was based on independent valuations and assessment of the
area by Corporation of London and MPS surveyors.
1 Epping Forest Act 1878, Preamble Back
Annex, Q19 Back
A consultation paper on the proposed use of a Legislative Reform
Order to permit a temporary Police Muster, Briefing and Deployment
Centre on Wanstead Flats to support the 2012 Olympic Games,
16 September 2010, p7 (Home Office) Back
Responses to a consultation paper on the proposed use of a
Legislative Reform Order to permit a temporary Police Muster,
Briefing and Deployment Centre on Wanstead Flats to support the
2012 Olympic Games, 20 January 2011, p16 (Home Office) Back
Explanatory Document (ED), paragraph 1.1.4 Back
ED, Annex H, paragraphs 5.6, and 5.8 Back
Annex, Q16 Back