Protest against Wanstead Flats 2012 Olympics plan

PROTESTERS converged on Wanstead Flats to vent their anger at plans to turn swathes of the land into a Olympic police base in 2012.

Campaigners marked out the 3.5 acres of land the Metropolitan Police wants at its disposal in summer 2012, using police tape emblazoned with the words Do Not Cross.

A tug of war between children and adults sporting police helmets was also held on Wanstead Flats during Sunday’s protest, with the youngsters winning.

On Friday, the Metropolitan Police submitted a planning application to Redbridge Council for a temporary headquarters.

The base will include four marquees, 30 cabins, stables, kennels and more than 370 parking spaces, surrounded by a 3m high fence.

The police briefing centre, which will be between Centre Road and Jubilee Pond, will be up for no more than 120 days.

It will be in use 24/7 for police officers being deployed to protect competitors and spectators at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and the majority of activity will take place during daylight.

Most Read

Save Wanstead Flats spokesman Kevin Blowe said: “There was a really good atmosphere. We were all there under the came cause.

“The objection still remains that this will set a precedent for future intrusion on the flats.”

The land is protected under the Epping Forest Act 1878, but that is set to be temporarily amended by the City of London Corporation, which is responsible for the forest.

A leaflet, to be distributed to residents in the area, will call on them to make submissions to Redbridge Council ahead of it considering the proposals.

Joanna Belmont, 33 of Aldersbrook Road, said: “We want our children to be able to use the field.

“If they get away with it this time, who knows how often they will try and put something on there?”

The Metropolitan Police say the site is the most suitable one for the proposed briefing centre.