Tower Hamlets calls off its legal threat after 2012 Olympics deal

LEGAL action is being dropped over the battle to get the 2012 Olympics marathon race switched back to East London after Lord Coe signed a deal with the mayor of one of the five ‘host’ boroughs.

The mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, began judicial review proceedings in November to get Seb Coe’s Organising committee to change its mind and keep to its original plan for the prestigious race.

But he signed an accord with Lord Coe yesterday which could mean 1,000 jobs for people on the dole in the East End.

The accord would also mean other benefits including regenerating the A11 Whitechapel Road and setting up Victoria Park as one of four London ‘live events’ sites. Brick Lane, in addition, would get promoted as the 2012 Olympic’s ‘curry village.’

Mr Rahman told the East London Advertiser after the signing: “I am calling off the legal action, now that I’ve secured this accord with Lord Coe that is a good deal for the people of the East End. Lawyers are being instructed.”

The accord was signed between the two at a ceremony yesterday at Tower Hamlets’ new flagship St Paul’s Way Trust School in Mile End.

The mayor said at the ceremony: “I am disappointed the marathon isn’t coming here. But I have to bight the bullet and move on.”

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He added: “As a lawyer, I know how long it’s going to take. I cannot indulge the borough in lengthy litigation at a time of public service cuts forced on us.”

The deal means contractors and suppliers an the Olympics site will offer unemployed people in Tower Hamlets up to 1,000 jobs 72 hours before they go on the general employment market. There would also be a ‘work skills’ programme and help in applying for the jobs.

Further funds would be found for ‘High Street 2012’ to give the Whitechapel Road and Mile End Road—the route leading to the Olympics stadium—a huge ‘makeover’ with a lick of paint and even restored shop fronts.

Brick Lane would be turned into the official ‘Olympic Curry Village’ with a free bus service to bring in athletes and spectators from the stadium.

“Much of the sports facilities will be left as a legacy for the East End,” Mr Rahman added. “That’s why I’ve taken the position not to pursue court action.”

Tower Hamlets has also been promised participation with the Olympics Torch procession. The mayor wants a ‘torch event’ at Stepney Green Park at the start of next year’s Games.

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