The Evening Standard’s Ross Lydall reports here that Tower Hamlets council has started judicial review proceedings against Lord Coe and his team at LOCOG for their decision to re-route the Olympic marathon away from the borough in 2012.
The council’s “pre-action” letter can be viewed here. Chief executive Kevan Collins and legal head Isabella Freeman claim that the council has already invested “considerable money” into the concept of “High Street 2012”.
High Street 2012 is in fact the filthy main road that runs from Aldgate to Stratford, along Whitechapel Road, Mile End Road and Bow Road. When it was first coined a few years ago, the council announced they were going to rename the roads the Olympic Boulevard, something that not only triggered much mirth but also the ire of Jacques Rogge and his colleagues. The word “Olympic”, you see , is a fiercely protected copyright.
I’m not exactly sure what the council has spent money on, but I’ve not seen any evidence of those roads being spruced up. Did some cash go on consultants, I wonder? I’ll ask.
However, given that the Games organisers had sucked out so much PR value from telling everyone how great they were for staging the marathon through the deprived East End, the council is absolutely right to challenge them.
Seb Coe’s decision, and particularly the reasons for it – that there were logistical problems associated with people running through Tower Hamlets (listen, Seb, that’s what we all do here!) – was a disgrace.
I’ve had some experience of Isabella Freeman: Seb Coe might well lose this one.