Following a request from BBC Security, police denied a family access to their tower block home overlooking the Olympic site in Stratford for well over an hour, before having to acknowledge they had no power to do so.
Colin, a resident in Lund Point on the Carpenters Estate in Stratford had invited a group viewing the estate in a tour organised by CARP (Carpenters Estate Against Regeneration) to come to his flat to see the high standard of accommodation in the 1966 tower block and the views across the estate.
The BBC have rented the vacant areas of the top five floors of the 22 storey block as a base for their Olympic and Paralympic coverage. The group included a number of UK and foreign journalists, photographers and TV crews with an interest in the area.
At around 1.15pm we approached the tower block to find the resident's doorway blocked by two burly security men, employed by the BBC. We stated our intention to visit one of the residents and were refused entry. We then visited a couple of nearby sites before returning around 50 minutes later to find a group of five PCSOs and a police officer assisting the security men in blocking the doorway.
We again stated our right to enter and were refused, and when Colin, a resident of the block, tried to enter he was prevented from doing so. The policewoman present told us she was calling for a senior colleague and refused to discuss any reason for not allowing us to enter.
When another officer did arrive, he too refused to discuss the right of residents to enter their homes or to invite friends to do so, but again called for further assistance, with two police vans arriving a few minutes later.
Eventually, shortly before 3pm, the police could apparently find no reason to bar us from the building and let us go in. The reason for the BBC's reluctance to let the press see the inside of the building was soon apparent. Although this is still a residential building with around 30 flats still occupied, the interior appeared to be a health and safety nightmare, with cables, desks in lobby areas and so on.
Next we tried to visit another resident who owns a flat on the 20th floor of the block, and again police and security at first told us this was impossible. We took the lift to the 20th floor and were met by the two security men, who at first blocked our way out of the lift, and then stopped us from going down the corridor to the flat. The resident who had extended the invitation to the group confirmed that we were welcome and finally we were allowed through.
This was in no way an anti-Olympic event, and CARP has no quarrel with the BBC, although some of the residents had complaints about their activities on the estate. They accuse them of various breaches of the planning agreement for the use of the site and of a contempt for health and safety. The resident's lift is only supposed to be used for people (the BBC have an external site lift for materials) but one told us how he had travelled down with his kids in a lift full of bags of waste material, which he had been appalled to find were dangerous asbestos removed from some of the areas being used by the BBC.
Another estate resident from the neighbouring terrace had earlier pointed out the huge emergency generator behind a fence on the grass where his kids used to play, and suggested it had no planning permission. He also said that when running it was extremely noisy and belched out clouds of black fumes into the neighbouring gardens. He had made a complaint to the BBC about it, but so far had not had a reply. Both residents in the block and around also said they had been woken as early as 6am by noisy building work taking place.