Today a member of our group, Matt, was contacted by the lawyer of the ODA about our judicial review of the decision to construct the basketball facilities at the last minute on the protected land of Porter’s Field Meadow (Leyton Marsh). Despite the case being against WF Council (who are claiming over £4000 costs), the ODA have taken on the case and are also seeking over £20,000 of costs against our small group, despite the ODA having a legal budget of over £40m. At a hearing of the application we were not even informed about, the judge threw out our JR and has issued a court order for the full costs against us. It is more than a little strange we were informed about the outcome by the pretender claimants!
We are a community group with no financial backing, no tax payers’ money and certainly no legal employees. This judge, like the Labour councillors who voted for the planning permission, has ignored all the planning policies that went against this judgement and ignored the subsequent health and safety risks posed by the excavation of dangerous rubble on our marsh. But he did listen to the ODA’s absurd claims for over £20,000 of costs against us and has issued us with a court order to pay despite none of the parties having to offer a defence since the case did not even proceed to a hearing. We are neither willing or able to pay thousands of pounds to an organisation that has not only wreaked such havoc with our marsh but has already arrested, fined and imprisoned those opposing the development.
We are also facing a draconian and inappropriate policing of our attempts to fundraise. Our comedy benefit at the Rose & Crown Theatre Pub on 31st July is now the subject of quite unnecessary controversy. The pub were telephoned by the Metropolitan Police who demanded the promoter’s details. The promoter, Alaric, was asked for his personal details and then asked several questions by the police including whether the comedy benefit was a demonstration, whether members of Occupy were coming and that if it was the latter, to expect a police presence at the night. Alaric told them that if they wouldn’t get in unless they pay and not at all if in uniform!
He was then told he’d get a subsequent phone call from the security services this week!
This comes on top of council officers going into independent shops and businesses and removing posters for the Save Leyton Marsh benefit in Walthamstow under what they claim were Olympic powers and SLM being prohibited from hiring out council venues for meetings.
We regard the awarding of costs and the incident with the comedy benefit as indicative of the full intimidation the authorities are willing to use against ordinary local people, both financial and political, for simply attempting to defend our green space from contamination and destruction.