Army using Romford tower block as Olympics observation base

A Romford tower block will be used as an army observation base during the Olympics.

Soldiers are currently at Highfield Towers, Colliers Row, ready for a major military exercise taking place over the bank holiday weekend to prepare defences for the games.

Navy warships will be deployed, RAF typhoon jets and helicopters will do practice flights and missile bases around London will be tested.

The block of flats, in Hillrise Road, is one of many observation stations for the operation.

The view from the roof of the 15-storey building stretches miles into north London.

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The Ministry of Defence expects there will be little disruption to residents, who were told of the plans by letter on Tuesday (2).

Resident Carol Brown, of flat 25, said the news came as a shock.

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She said: “It’s all very well to say they need to do it because the Olympics have never happened like this before.

“You hear about missiles and jets and things. We’ve never had that sort of thing here.”

A team of soldiers will be based on the roof of the block until Tuesday (8) and for the duration of the Olympics.

Flat 62 resident Emma-Louise Cornhill is not concerned.

She said: “I’m not really worried about it, they do what they need to do. I hope it isn’t too disruptive.”

Havering Council granted the Ministry of Defence permission to use the building.

A spokesman said: “We gave our permission to help them provide the best possible security for the Olympics.”

No missiles will be based on the building but details of the “special equipment” used have not been confirmed.

National Olympic Security Coordinator Chris Allison, said: “Testing and exercising is vital to getting our safety and security operation for the Games right.

“We need to be confident that we have the right people in the right places, and that we understand how others operate.”

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