Legal advisers for Stratford-based construction company PA Findlay are locked in talks with the London Development Agency over the future of their headquarters should London win the 2012 Olympics
The firm’s headquarters have been threatened with a compulsory purchase order by the LDA along with hundreds of other businesses on Marshgate Lane in Stratford. So far they have not been given an alternative deal from the LDA.
The firms had threatened to write to the International Olympic Committee to complain unless a deal was resolved this week. The firms were keen to emphasise, however, that they were not against the Olympic bid.
Michael Finlay, PA Finlay’s managing director, said the agency promised that they had all the necessary land to relocate more than 300 businesses affected by the bid, suggesting that the process would be a simple land swap issue.
However, since the initial promises, the process of negotiation has proved difficult and the land has not materialised. Finlay said: “Under pressure, the agency has provided details of alternative land sites – and from the information provided it has become abundantly clear that there is a total shortage of land available within the Lower Lea Valley within which the firms can be relocated.”
Finlay added that he was concerned the LDA did not have the financial muscle to complete the land swap. He said: “This is not helped by the perceived shortfall in the LDA’s budget for the relocation of the businesses.”
PA Finlay has made contingency plans to ensure its service levels to clients are not affected by the process, but is disappointed that the situation remains unresolved just a month before the decision is to be made.
“We have been constantly requesting that they provide us with a detailed plan, as promised in November 2003, of the alternatives that are available in the event of London winning the bid,” said Finlay. “It is the lack of clarity with regards to this that as a business concerns us greatly.”
The LDA has informed Finlay that it would not need the Marshgate Lane premises in the event of an unsuccessful Olympic bid. Finlay said he has had this confirmed in writing.
In a statement, the LDA said: “The LDA’s responsibility is both to deliver the games and their associated regeneration benefits and also to support and promote business. We have been working to facilitate the agreement of relocation packages with the businesses potentially affected and we will continue to do so.
“The LDA is now in detailed discussions with the majority of businesses in the area and has ensured that this includes the large employers. Two years has been built in to the construction timetable before commencing building the Olympic Park to ensure businesses have sufficient time to move to appropriate sites.”
The statement added that many of the businesses were waiting to discuss relocation until after the bid winner was announced.
Talks were continuing as Building went to press.