Legacy chiefs face questions over park visions


"Are you not at risk of creating middle class ghettos - a situation where poor people can't get in?"

Olympic Park legacy chiefs faced questions from the London Assembly this week, about the new vision for the Olympic site beyond the 2012 Games and how those plans will become a reality.

Concerns were expressed from Jenny Jones, deputy chairwoman of the Assembly's planning and housing committee, about the extent to which the development of five new neighbourhoods within the site will integrate with existing surrounding boroughs such as Tower Hamlets and Hackney.

Baroness Margaret Ford, chairwoman of the OPLC responded: "We know that we must not create a cliff edge effect with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - the master plan needs to connect the park with the surrounding neighbourhoods - like re-stitching the fabric of east London back together.

"We don't want there to be a huge contrast between the old and the new. A large percentage of the family homes will be affordable housing, so we hope that generations of east Londoners will continue to live here and not be pushed out to the suburbs."

Andrew Altman, chief executive of the OPLC said: "We want to connect with the communities that are there already - we have been working with local boroughs to discuss how their residents want to use the park - the new infrastructure will become embedded in existing east London neighbourhoods."

The Assembly's planning and housing committee also posed questions about the implications of replacing the Olympic Park Legacy Company with a Mayoral Development Corporation.

Baroness Ford said: "We see it as a positive step and we will get more planning powers than we have currently and will only have one shareholder to answer to instead of three."

The focus of the talks was on the creation of a "21st century great estate", building on London's history and creating traditional family homes. The OPLC confirmed it was on target to develop one in five houses into three plus bedroom homes with gardens.

Use of facilities post Games such as the stadium and broadcast centre will be confirmed by Christmas, with procurement of these venues still in consultation.