Legacy: Councillor says Olympic spirit can change lives

By Beth Allcock on August 10, 2012 3:18 PM |

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Olympic spirit and the power of the Games need to be harnessed to transform the lives of people living in East London, claims a Newham councillor.

London's position as a host city should be to be translated into 'a legacy for people', explained Cllr David Christie.

The borough's future is expected to hold a minimum investment of £22billion by 2025, and the creation of more than 35,000 new homes and 100,000 jobs.

A network of fibre and copper internet cables recently installed in preparation for the Games and an expanding Tech City, have provided the foundations for digital infrastructure.

And regeneration of Stratford's Olympic village is also a priority.

Cllr Christie, who represents the Beckton ward, said: "When London won the right to host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2005 the promise of a tangible legacy was a fundamental reason for the bid's success.

"In 2007, that promise was restated and augmented with a series of promises by Government including to use the Games to transform the heart of East London.

"There has long been a view in east London that this should be about more than just the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park and a few thousand houses.

"It has to be about the lasting change for this part of London and a reversal of a century of inequality that has existed between the East and the rest of London."

He added that it was political leaders who now needed to deliver on the 'promise of legacy' that made possible London's Olympics.

"Areas such as Bethnal Green, Dalston and parts of Stratford are seeing new developments and young professionals moving in who will change the mix of people, and the employment levels and incomes," he said.

"But do we want the legacy of the Games to be a replacement of the people that live here?

"Or do we want it to have been a genuine shift in opportunities for people who have lived here their entire lives and those that chose to make East London their home?"