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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Probe into Olympic land evictions
Computer image of London's proposed Olympic riverside park
The LDA is trying to make deals with businesses
An inquiry has begun into the mass compulsory land purchases that may be needed to clear land needed for the 2012 Olympic Park.

Olympic organisers now have 86% of the land in public ownership but many businesses are fighting eviction from east London's Lower Lea Valley.

The public inquiry will hear complaints from companies and residents about the compulsory purchase orders (CPO).

It will also hear opposing arguments from the London Development Agency.

The agency, whose job is to secure the land for the Olympics, is striking deals "thick and fast" to drastically cut the number of objectors from 400, a spokesman said.

Relocation sites

Based on the evidence from the inquiry, inspectors will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who will then make a decision on the CPOs.

If the CPOs are confirmed, the London Development Agency (LDA) will serve notice on all owners, leaseholders, tenants and occupiers.

The CPO boundary covers 306 hectares of land, touching four east London boroughs - Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

In addition to the Olympic Park, it includes five other areas of land identified as potential relocation sites.

Guy Roots QC, for the LDA, told the inquiry there was a "compelling case in the public interest" for the orders to be confirmed.

He said: "There will, nevertheless, remain a significant number of plots which the London Development Agency needs to acquire which are unlikely to be acquired by agreement."

Leave by 2007

There are 206 businesses looking to relocate.

The LDA wants everyone to have left the site by July 2007 so they can begin clearing it.

They intend to hand it over to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which is in charge of building the Olympic venues and infrastructure, in 2008.

Lord Coe, chair of the London 2012 organising committee, is set to give evidence at the Docklands-based inquiry on Thursday.

David Higgins, the chief executive of the ODA, is due to give evidence on Friday.


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