The race to live at the home of Olympic heroes

By Rob Virtue on August 17, 2012 3:43 PM |

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Fancy living in a flat that was the home of Usain Bolt or one of Team GB's medal heroes?

Well that's now a reality for many east Londoners, who are queuing up for the chance of moving into the Athlete's Village once the stars of 2012 vacate. After a year's renovation, including putting in new kitchens, the homes will be for the public.

In total 2,818 homes will be available in the East Village, of which 1,379 are to be taken over by Triathlon Homes and available under intermediate rent, shared ownership and social rented housing schemes.

And it's already seen one former east Londoner look to return to his roots.

John Corderoy, who has a wife and two children, is looking to relocate from Essex and buy into the shared ownership scheme.

"People say at my age people move out of London but we still get the buzz from the place," said John, speaking at an event in Westminster to publicise the housing legacy. "It's got everything we need. I see many opportunities in the village for my children.

"At the moment I'm renting a three bed semi in Chigwell but can't afford to buy a property there. The shared ownership scheme at East Village is very attractive."

He said the facilities, including the Aquatics Centre, made Stratford a perfect place to bring up his children.

"My kids love going to the cinema and they have that at Westfield, where the eateries are also second to none," he said. "The connections to schools, as well, are great.

"When I was 15 I worked just outside where the park is now so remember it as industrial estates. With my job now I drive around east London and I've seen it gradually develop.

"I found out that the athletes village was to be for housing and thought that was where I wanted my family to be."

East Londoner Christella Matoko has just finished a qualification in performing arts.

She is keen to stay in the area and is looking at intermediate rent - set at 20 per cent below the standard market rate - at the East Village.

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"Living and growing up here and seeing the regeneration, it's shocking to remember how it was," she said. "People wouldn't want to come here. My sister said to me 'I feel proud to be from Stratford' and I had never heard that before. The money now going into local projects and schemes out of this legacy is amazing."

Long jumper JJ Legede has hit 8.11m in the sand but missed out on London 2012 due to the fine form of Chris Tomlinson and gold medal winner Greg Rutherford.

He grew up in Hackney and said the redevelopment of nearby Stratford would inspire future generations.

"The place is awesome," he said. "Every time I go past it makes me smile because I know it's improved so much with Westfield, this new village and Chobham Academy. When I was growing up people wouldn't come to east London but now thousands see it as a tourist venue.

"I lived in social housing and when I used to walk past nice houses it used to make me think I want better for myself. Now the kids will use these homes to inspire themselves further."

As for finding out which Olympian stayed in your apartment, there is a possibility.

Stuart Corbyn, non-executive chairman of property conglomerate Qatari Diar Delancey, joked: "Locog keep information to themselves but by fair means or foul we'll try to find out who's staying where."