Reporters 'not given notice' about crucial Olympic talks

East London Advertiser deputy editor Ted Jeory has attacked the Olympic Delivery Authority’s press office, claiming that short notice ensured only a few journalists attended an important planning meeting to sign off the start of the £9bn site clearance and building work for the 2012 London Olympics.

According to Jeory, only himself, Christina Papas of Planning magazine and an Evening Standard journalist were present at the seven-hour meeting in Stratford, where the King’s Yard complex was earmarked for demolition to make way for the Olympics energy centre.

Hackney Gazette journalist Sally Scott said she was disappointed that the authority had only informed her of the meeting a day before it took place.

She said: “They assumed that I had found out about the meeting from their website. We need to know who is going to be there and what they are going to talk about. We could have done a story in the run-up to the meeting.”

Papas only heard about the meeting by chance after she made an inquiry about a separate story.

An ODA spokeswoman said: “We ensured that we alerted key broadcasters, trade publications and the main local papers.

“We have nothing to hide from the media – the meeting took place in public and was open to anyone to attend, and several journalists did, including the Evening Standard and a BBC crew who both stayed for the duration of the seven-hour public meeting. To suggest anything other than that is inaccurate.”

The press office apologised and agreed to email all local media ahead of such meetings in future.

Jeory, who found out about the meeting from an objector to the plans, said: “The authority neither issued a press release advising of the meeting nor sent out any agendas or reports via the post. Not even PA was aware of the meeting and therefore sent no one.

“As a result, two planning applications worth £9bn were given the green light without any widespread coverage of residents’ and councillors’ concerns about noise, jobs, congestion, security and damage to the environment.”

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