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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Gypsies lose Olympic site battle
Clays Lane Travellers' site
Some families have lived on the site for many years
Gypsy families have lost a High Court battle over plans to make them move to make way for the Olympic village.

They have been living on sites in Clays Lane, Newham, and Waterden Crescent, Hackney, both east London, in an area earmarked for Olympic Games projects.

A judge rejected their claims that their human rights would be unlawfully breached if they were forced to transfer to new caravan plots.

The challenge was led by three mothers facing eviction from the sites.

'Justified and proportionate'

Lisa Smith, Mary Reilly and Julia Reilly said the relocation was an unlawful interference with their right to private and family life, under the European Convention on Human Rights.

All three challenged the government's decision in December to confirm the London Development Agency's compulsory purchase order for the land on which the caravan sites stand.

Mr Justice Wyn Williams said: "When a decision maker admits that his decision involves a very significant interference with the human rights of a group of people, the court has a duty to analyse rigorously the basis upon which that decision is said to be justified and proportionate.

"Having subjected the decision to such rigorous assessment, I have reached the clear conclusion that the (Secretary of State for Trade and Industry's) decision to confirm this compulsory purchase order is justified."

'New sites'

The judge ruled that - given the benefits of the Olympics - the compulsory purchase order was a "proportionate" interference with travellers' human rights.

A London Development Agency spokesman said it had secured planning permission for new sites for the travellers in Newham and Hackney.

"These will provide new sites with modern amenities for all the travellers living on the Olympic park site," he said.

"We have worked hard with the travellers to understand their needs and preferences in order to properly reflect their traditional way of life."

Mrs Giles, 35, the mother of a 12-year-old son and 18-month-old daughter, said: "It is outrageous that we are being forced to move in this way for the Olympics. Members of the wider local community would not be treated in this way."

The 35 traveller families affected by the decision are not expected to appeal against the judge's ruling.


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