Firms abandon Games legal challenge

A legal challenge to road closures during the Olympics has been dropped

A legal challenge to road closures during the Olympics has been dropped

First published in National News © by

Scores of small businesses have withdrawn their legal challenge to the organisers of the Olympics over planned road closures and security restrictions which they claim will put hundreds of jobs at risk.

Test cases were due to be launched at the High Court in London, with affected business leaders in Hackney, east London, saying companies could collapse.

A legal spokesman for the businesses said they had to withdraw because "of lack of time" and because the businesses could not compete with the "bottomless pockets and blank cheque books" of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

About 50 businesses employing hundreds of people are affected and range from transport firms to printers, cafes, garages and retailers.

Their solicitor, John Halford, from legal firm Bindmans, told Mr Justice Singh the case was being "withdrawn - in total" on the basis that no order was made for legal costs. The judge approved the settlement.

Outside court, Mr Halford said the businesses "are basically going to have to struggle for survival".

He said one company - Business Solutions - had already shut down. Those affected trade in the Hackney Wick and Fish Island area which is on the "Olympic fringe". All are just outside a compulsory purchase zone, inside which 193 affected companies were given compensation and new premises.

Mr Halford said the case could not proceed because of time pressures and because the businessmen, who do not qualify for legal aid, could not compete with the financial clout of the Olympics organisers and Transport for London (TfL).

The ODA had hired "a team of several City lawyers" to defend the road closures and restrictions, he said. There had been discussions between both sides "but not much meeting of minds".

The businessmen had planned to challenge the legality of traffic management regulations which restrict movements of vehicles using the Olympic route network. They complain the restrictions unlawfully affect their right of access to their own premises and also affect the access rights of their suppliers and customers.

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