Mass Picnic To Save Wanstead Flats 5th September

The “Save Wanstead Flats Campaign” invite all of us to protest with a picnic on Sunday 5th September.

All welcome 1pm on the spot to the west of Centre Road where the police want to site their Olympic operations base in 2012. Ever since over 250 people attended a packed public meeting in July, residents living near Wanstead Flats have been demanding answers about plans by the City of London Corporation to allow the Metropolitan Police to base its Olympics operational centre on the Flats in 2012. In order to push this proposal through, the Corporation would need to amend an Act of Parliament that has protected Wanstead Flats from enclosure and development for well over a century.

Local people want to know why the proposed site for this police base, west of Centre Road, has been chosen, how that decision was made and why the Olympic stadium site itself cannot be used. There has been no consultation, even though the plans involve locating a fenced, high-security compound – with buildings, parking areas, stables and apparently even police holding cells – for at least 120 days and so close to residential neighbourhoods.

The Save Wanstead Flats campaign is organised by local people and on Sunday 5 September, we’d like to invite you to show your opposition to the City of London Corporation’s plans by joining us for a picnic – occupying the very spot where the police operations base would be constructed.  FLYER MAP


Sign the Petition now!

This is one of many green sites that the “Greenest Olympics” will destroy also see

Park to be tarmaced for Olympics

Basildon is latest signing to Disgruntled First XI

Hackney Marshes

London 2012 Equestrian Events

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Evicted for Sport

:courtesy: Ravi Chaudhary/Governance Now.

This year, the commonwealth games are held in Delhi. Minister of Delhi 2010 Sheila Dikshit’s  concept of a “World Class” image has convinced local officials to  demolish any slums local to the commonwealth venues.

On the 7th of July 2010, during work hours, a government funded demolition team took bulldozers to the Yamuna Khada school (funded by donations) in order for it to be ruthlessly demolished. Those who attended and worked at the school were given three hours to vacate the property with no alternative. Police were present along with the construction teams and were seen destroying whatever could be demolished by hand in order to put fear into local residents. Many were removed with physical force.

After the destruction of the school, children as young as five years old were seen with teachers attempting to salvage items from the rubble of the school in order to save whatever they could for their community.  The children will have to relocate to the nearest alternative school three miles away in order to have an education. The school as part of the community was by no means a luxury but a necessity. With no immediate community to move to it is unknown when they are next able to continue their education and their lives.

Children from slums (including the Yamuna slums) have come together to produce a book of poems entitled “We Built This City” in order to save at least the memory of the community that they and their families have spent the last 25 years building. This emotional and reflective collection is the only weapon these children have against the bulldozers and police sent in by the government. With India hoping to host the 2016 Olympics it’s a wonder how far this abuse of the poor is going to go.

To find out more about what is happening concerning the destruction of the slum communities and to help support those who have suffered from the effects of the redevelopment of the Yamuna river, please visit Sarai and Governance now. If you would like to see how we have looked at this issue, please see our London / Delhi Project.

With similar effects seen in Beijing (Olympics 2008) and the UK (arguably with less government approved violence), it is questionable whether the development of these cities to create a “world class image” is necessary or progressive. The compaction of poor communities increases the class divide as well as reducing the opportunity for the poor to improve their standard of living.

Interestingly the official explanation for why the school needed to be demolished was “security”, the same reason given for demolishing the 100 year old Manor Gardens Allotments in London. These mega-events last only a few weeks- demolition is forever. There is only one difference between the events in London and Delhi. Eviction with a smile.

Remember- Its not losing that matters, its the taking part.

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Battersea Power Station & Olympics 2012 – Legacy, Land Grabs and Liberties

Olympic Blues

Olympic Blues


Mark Saunders talk and videos

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 17:30

Room 517 (5th floor), Bartlett School of Planning, UCL, Wates House, 22 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0QB.


More info on London Planning Seminars

For more info:
On the Olympics:

On Battersea Power Station:

The Good. The Bad. And Section 106.

Sil Workshop 28-07-05

Spectacle, having established the Silwood Video Group, have been an active presence on the Silwood Estate since 2001, and in nearly 10 years of voluntary film-workshops and attendance at Residents’ Meetings, we have seen the landscape of this slice of South-East London change, and change as a result of regeneration.

Since 2005 at the Residents’ Forum Meetings, which are now held quarterly, the residents have asked to see the business plans for development and to have access to details of Section 106, which was declared a ‘non-public document’ by the London & Quadrant NIT Manager on the Silwood. The statement was later retracted, but the Section 106 document, to date, has not been made available to residents.

Tower Homes, the commercial wing of London & Quadrant, won the planning permission rights to the land in the Silwood area, on which they intended to build luxury apartments. By law, this makes them accountable to Section 106 Agreement of the Town and Country Planning Act (1990), which states that if development is agreed upon, for example, Lewisham Council awarding planning permission to Tower Homes, then the new landowners must provide resources that are of benefit to the community that will be affected by the development. In the case of the Silwood, London & Quadrant was entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the re-provision of community facilities, play areas/ parks, and youth centres on the Estate, which were demolished as a result of the regeneration process. The Lewington Centre was then built as a replacement for the former community centre and the Cyber Centre under Section 106.

Residents are currently being asked to pay relatively steep rates in order to use their new Centre, but the bone of contention lies in the fact that, according to the ‘Regeneration Project Initiation Document’, freely available from Lewisham Council, London & Quadrant allocated a fund of £2 million in order to meet their Section 106 obligations. On top of this, despite the claim of London & Quadrant representatives at Residents’ Meetings on the Silwood that these rates are essential to their business plan and the long-term running of the Lewington Centre, their business plan for 2009 shows that they have made a profit in the region of £120, 000. So why do they seem so unwilling to invest in fully rebuilding the local infrastructure?

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Luton focus of ‘Changing Britain’, Channel 4 News

Luton was the focus of the Channel 4 News piece ‘Changing Britain‘ aired on Tuesday 23rd March.

On the streets of Luton and in the context of it’s pronounced industrial and migrant history, Jon Snow’s report examined crime, unemployment and the benefit’s trap, and inviting local perspectives on the upcoming elections.

The Snowblog ‘Hats off for Luton’, published prior to the broadcast, recognises Luton as “merely the tip of a very British reality, a snapshot of a country with vast social challenges extending far beyond what we mainly talk about – fixing the deficit.”

Glenn Jenkins (who extends the discussion in A view from the Marsh Farm estate) and other Marsh Farm Outreach members also feature in the programme. Spectacle have been working with the group for over 15 years, most recently on our Poverty and Participation in the Media project for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, but also during the early community activism and outreach principles of the Exodus Collective (now Leviticus and MFO), about whom Spectacle produced two films Exodus Movement of Jah People and Exodus from Babylon.

Battersea Power Station: presentation of new plans by REO 31st March.

Battersea Power Station
Presentation of the new plans by Real Estates Opportunities


DRCA Community Centre
Behind TESCO Metro in Battersea Park Road
Charlotte Despard Avenue SW11 5HD

Wednesday 31st March 2010 – 12 noon to 2.00pm

Jeremy Castle, Planning Director, will talk about the planning application that Wandsworth Council will decide upon in July.

3,700, luxury flats, riverside park, hotel, tube station surrounding the Grade II* listed Power Station which will become a retail centre.

This item will be early on the agenda and be a fairly brief introduction to the scheme.


The Nine Elms Opportunity Area is creating a feeding frenzy of speculative buildings being planned – The US Embassy, 30 storey flats at the gas works, 50 storey flats on Covent Garden Market, 60 storey block at St George’s Vauxhall. What do local people want?

Whose Opportunity?

Battersea Community Forum hosted by Doddington and Rollo Community Association
RSVP for light refreshments.
Wandsworth Rights Umbrella Group and Battersea Power Station Community Group.

For more information, visit our Battersea Power Station project page

‘Play Boy’ Owner Spending Spree Scandal

An article in the Evening Standard today reveals the huge spending sprees of one of the ‘play boy’ owners of the Power Station, while the building itself is lacking funding to keep it standing.  Article features interview with Battersea Power Station Community Group member Brian Barnes.

Do you have any ideas for Battersea Power Station?

Do you have ideas for how Battersea power station could be used NOW or in the FUTURE?

REO, the current owners of Battersea Power Station, make vague promises about community use and access to the site but all their plans are projected way into the future. REO’s schedule is “planning” until 2012 and building only set to finish in 2020- nearly 40 years after the power station was decommissioned.

Do you have any ideas for immediate use?

How about something for the kids like a giant adventure playground?
A river bus hub for river buses that acccept oyster cards?

The building is so huge, many times the size of its little and uglier sister the Tate Modern, it can probably accommodate all your ideas.

REO insist on only considering grandiose money making schemes on the site. They clearly plan to do nothing until 2012 and then only if they get their tube extension. This “all or nothing” approach flies in the face of current economic realities and other successful models of re-using industrial buildings based on either gradual and organic development or imaginative re-use of the spaces.

Do you have any ideas for how to use such a big building?

A museum of power technology; steam, water, wind, coal?
A Museum of the Thames? It could contain many boats, it has a river front. It has a great views from the chimneys.
An extension of the Science or Natural History Museums for all their bigger exhibits?
A Museum of Flight. Battersea has connections with aviation e.g.1900s Battersea Balloon Works.

Most of REO’s plans are for building around the site.Their ideas for the power station are banal, a conference centre (yawn), hotel and shopping (novel) and, would you believe, flats. If there was ever a building inappropriate for residential use it is Battersea Power Station. Their plans necessitate vandalising the magnificent brick facades by punching through windows in order to maximise income generating floor space. Light wells would be the more appropriate, architecturally sensitive but less profitable option.

Do you have any ideas that do not mean destroying the architectural value of the building?

REO make much of the “green spaces” ( the little bits between what they plan to build around the power station) but are less keen to make clear most are private spaces. Do you have ideas for the site that do not require surrounding and obscuring the Power Station with dense ugly office buildings?

Do you have any ideas how to use the current open spaces around the power station?

Doing nothing until 2020 demonstrates a bankruptcy of ideas by REO. If REO cannot think of, or at least allow, any uses that benefit Londoners and the local community then they are unsuitable custodians of a national treasure and should hand over the site to public ownership.

Visit Spectacle’s on-going Battersea Power Station Project

Watch a video trailer here: Battersea Power Station – The Story So Far

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If you live in the neighbourhood and would like to get involved, contact us here putting Battersea Power Station in your message.

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White elephant Olympic site on horizon

The Olympic site risks becoming a white elephant due a plan that “lacks detail” and a  budget which is “underdeveloped”. The London assembly’s economic development, culture, sport and tourism committee, stressed in a recent report “There is concern that, given the experience of other cities that planned long in advance of actually staging the games, we are missing the boat”.

The Guardian reported that the committee charged with overseeing spending on the £9.3bn game has concluded that the lack of a tenant for the main stadium means there are “serious doubts as to the future financial viability of the venue and hence attractiveness of the park site to business investment”. Aspirations to create between 9,000 and 10,000 jobs in the Olympic Park could be at risk without private funding, it warns.

In a letter to The Guardian on July 4th, an assembly member argued that the lack of affordable housing being created by the Olympics, particularly for families meant that the legacy was going to leave nothing but a concrete eyesore.


Will the Olympics develop any of the promises it made to Londoners in the bid?

Given the destruction caused by the Olympics and the lack of solid plans for after the event, is it worth it?

To find out more about Spectacles Olympic project please visit our Project Page

Neighbourly Encounter Video

Neighbourly Encounter: Missing Sculpture

Visit Silwood Video Group to view archive of local historian Tony McTurk and Artist’s model David Grist visit to the Silwood Estate in 2002 to find the missing sculpture Neighbourly Encounter by artist Uli Nimptsch.