ODA's response to Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy's questions
Dear Ms Creasy
Games Time Training Venues: Temporary Basketball, Leyton Marsh
Thank you for your email of 11 April to John Evans the ODAs Head of Communications regarding the Basketball Games Time Temporary Training Venue at Leyton Marsh. I am the ODA Director responsible for the Games Time Training Venues project and I will endeavour to address all of the points you have raised in turn.
When was this development first proposed and who did the ODA engage with in considering this development?
The process of finding suitable Games Time Training Venues has been ongoing for more than three years. The ODA has tried wherever possible to use existing venues as Games Time Training Venues and has invested c. £15m in projects in and around East London that will continue to be legacy assets after the Games. We also hoped to do this for the Basketball training venue requirement. As part of fulfilling this requirement, the ODA is upgrading the Basketball facilities at Hackney Community College and Barking Abbey School which is also home to the Barking Abbey Basketball Academy.

However, due to the loss of a potential third venue in mid-2010, it became apparent that a temporary solution would be required for the remaining two basketball courts needed. The temporary venue needs to be big enough to satisfy the requirements of international Basketball Federation (FIBA) =, which requires courts to be 40m by 25m, large enough to accommodate Paralympic athletes.

The Leyton Marsh site was proposed in late 2010 and chosen because it is within 30 minutes drive of the Olympic Village, as it required by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The ODA engaged with the London 2012 Teams at LB Waltham Forest and LB Hackney when initially discussing Leyton Marsh as a potential venue.

The ODA ran a procurement process for a contractor and once procured, the contractor then had to develop plans in sufficient detail to submit a planning application. The planning application was submitted in November 2011.
What process of consultation with local residents has been undertaken and by whom?
In addition to the public consultation as part of the planning process, ODA Communications and the project team have undertaken extensive consultation with local residents and councillors:
- November 2011: meeting to brief Hackney councillors
-February 2012: community meeting at Riverside Nursery. All interested parties were welcome to attend and notices were posted in and around Riverside Walk. ( The nursery is a building on Riverside Close housing a children's private nursery and was used for the one and only meeting residents have ever had with the ODA back in February, although the LVRPA user group at the ice rink also discussed the scheme in February)
- January 2012: information leaflets about the project and reinstatement sent to 1,547 addresses within a 0.5km radius of the site,. this leaflet, attached (it wasn't attached), included the 24 hour Community Relations Hotline number that could be called in the event of questions of concerns- this was in advance of planning approval or start of construction on site.
-Marsh 2012: a further update following the start of work onsite, was sent to the same 1,547 addresses as well as to local councillors and MPs, including yourself, regarding the situation on site.
- 24 hour Community Hotline number of leaflets and signage around the site- this has always been a way to get through to the ODAS with any concerns or questions about what it taking place on site.

That has been on-going communication via email and telephone with members of Lammas Land Defence League (he means the New Lammas Lands Defence Committee) to discuss their concerns but none were taken up.
Where any alternative sites considered for the construction or development of this facility e.g. local schools such as Lammas School or Kelmscott?
Alternative sites were considered but did not meet the size requirements set out by FIBS or the distance requirements set out by the IOC. Kelmscott Leisure Centre for example, is not large enough and another alternative, the SCORE Centre in Leyton, chose to contract with the USA National Olympic Committee for the period of the Games.

This facility is specifically required for training for Paralympic basketball teams and in general school facilities are not big enough and the requirement clashes with school term times.
Why was the development to be temporary and what project planning has been done for its destruction ?
The venue is temporary because it is only needed for the period during the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the structure is built to the specifications required of a temporary building, not that required for a permanent structure.

Under the terms of the ODA contract with the construction firm building the venue, the contractor is required to dismantle the structure, remove the field of play and reinstate the land to its previous condition.

The ODA is working to finalise the detailed reinstatement proposal for LVRPA by the end of May. We are doing this sooner than the date required by our planning consent in order to demonstrate clearly our intention to remove the temporary structure and hand back the reinstated site of the due date of 15 October.

In order to gain some legacy value for this project, the field of play will be handed over to UK Sport for re-use as determined with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
Who will be responsible for ensuring the marshes are restored after this destruction has taken place and what is the timescale for this?
The London Organising Committee (LOCPG) will hand the venue back to the ODA in September 2012 after the Paralympic Games, following which, as outlined above, the venue will be dismantled and the land reinstated to its previous condition.

Our planning approved from Waltham Forest Council and the licence we have with Lea Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) require us to have done this by 15 October 2012. Under our licence, the land will be handed back to LVRPA on this date. In addition, I understand that £65,000 of the fee the ODA is paying the the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority for use of this land will be spent on improvements, including increased seating, new path and gates, and enhanced wildlife habitats.
What planning has been done to address access to the site for the use of this facility during the games and to ensure no damage to the surrounding marsh areas?
There will be no public access to the venue during the Games as it is a venue for training only and as such there will be no spectators.

The ODA recognises the important of Leyton Marsh to the local community and has worked with LVRPA as landowners to ensure public access is largely unaffected on the section of the Marsh where the temporary Basketball training venue is being built. The public is still able to use the majority of Porters Field for recreation.

I hope this answers your questions and if you need any further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,
Gerry Murphy
Director of Finance
Olympic Delivery Authority.
1 Churchill Place,
Canary Wharf, London E14 5LN

(20 Apr 2012)

To download the original letter click this link

  Lea Marshes   Basketball project