French gipsies spend holiday on Hackney green next to Olympic Park
Visit reveals council contingency plans for London 2012 Games
Thousands of tourists will teem into Hackney for the Olympics next year – but one family of holidaymakers were less welcome when they pitched up on a public park next to the 2012 site.
Council chiefs have revealed they are introducing special measures to avoid a repeat of this week’s events, which saw Mabley Green in Homerton temporarily turned into a campsite.
A convoy of 11 caravans, belonging to a family of French gipsies on a fortnight’s holiday, arrived on the green, next to the A12 flyover on Thursday.
The tourists said they had visited the historic town of Rochester and now fancied seeing Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the Olympic Park. They claimed the council had extended an entente cordiale and allowed them to stay for a week – although town hall bosses strongly denied this.
“We are very satisfied and would like to thank the council and police for their warm welcome,” said knife-grinder Ringo Gorgan, 40.
But they complained that local teenagers had tried to damage their cars.
- 1 Children hospitalised in Stamford Hill house fire involving candles
- 2 Man on trial for attempted murder of girlfriend was in drug-induced psychosis
- 3 CCTV: Dog walker helped raped woman, 19, call the police in Hackney
- 4 Great Christmas markets in and around north London
- 5 Weather warning issued ahead of expected gale force winds in London
- 6 Homerton LTN to be made permanent despite division among residents
- 7 Drivers and assistants for special needs pupils vote to strike after council 'brush off'
- 8 Boxpark reveals plans for Shoreditch rooftop garden
- 9 Acapella choir to debut at Hackney's Round Chapel
- 10 Items from Lidl and Sainsbury's recalled over health and safety concerns
The caravans sparked concern among neighbours who feared weeks of disruption.
“It annoys me, it really does,” said Petra Jackson, 47, of Kingsmead Way.
However Chris King, co-chairman of the Mabley Green Users Group, said he was confident town hall bosses would find a solution.
Hackney Council began legal proceedings to evict the gipsies – and on Sunday they suddenly left.
But Johnnie Walker, chairman of Hackney and Leyton Football League, which uses pitches on the green, said he was concerned about the protection of parks as the Olympics approach.
“It could have been difficult to get them off and that could have caused a great deal of disruption,” he said.
A council spokeswoman said Hackney, along with other Olympic host boroughs, had contingency plans in place to prevent parks becoming caravan sites in the run-up to London 2012, adding: “Mabley Green is public open space that belongs to the people of Hackney and we will not tolerate this unauthorised use,” she said.