Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
Residents of an East London apartment tower are hoping the legal system will save them from having to host missiles on their roof during the Olympics.
Plans by the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense to host surface-to-air missiles on the roof of an apartment complex now face a legal challenge from residents.
The lawyer representing residents of the Fred Wigg Tower in East London, Marc Willers, told the High Court that residents are concerned that "installation or deployment of the missile system on the roof of the Fred Wigg Tower gives rise to the additional risk that the tower itself may become the focus of a terrorist attack.” Willers also suggested building a tower or gantry on the expansive green space next to the building for any missile hosting.
Defense Secretary Philip Hammond is accused by the group of breaching elements of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protect an individual's right to "private life and peaceful enjoyment of their home."
According to the Telegraph, Hammond has said the missiles provide reassurance and are a powerful deterrent to potential attacks during the Games, and that objections to the MoD's plans are limited to "a small number of activists."
If residents are given permission for a full judicial review, they're expected to seek an injunction that would prohibit missile deployment until their legal challenge is heard. Otherwise, Willers has asked the High Court in London to have residents moved out and compensated during the Olympic Games if missiles are placed at the tower.
The judge appointed to the case intends to issue a final decision sometime this week.
UPDATE, 07/10/12: According to the London Evening Standard, the residents of the tower have lost their case. The lawyers for Defense Secretary Philip Hammond were able to convince the Justice Haddon-Cave that there was no credible threat to the residential tower by hosting anti-terrorist missiles.
The residents still request to be relocated and compensated while the missiles are hosted on site but a man who spoke on behalf of the Defense Secretary and MoD, said there was no legal obligation to consult residents on the site selection because it is a matter of national security.
Top image: The Fred Wigg Tower and its East London surroundings. Image courtesy Google Street View