The Mayor of London described any decision not to develop the Olympic Park and surrounding areas as “completely nuts” at a meeting to address the legacy of the 2012 Games.
He was joined by London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) chief executive David Goldstone to answering questions about the Olympicopolis cultural hub and nearby developments.
At the meeting in City Hall today, Mr Johnson, in his capacity as chairman of the LLDC, said: “The problem is creating job opportunities and keeping the character of the area.
“We have been very keen to make sure this isn’t just a huge housing estate with no purpose or centre, which is why we’ve made sure it is attractive for new businesses too.
“We think [the redevelopment work proposed] will help to attract people to set up business around it and we think it will be very powerful in keeping that momentum of energy and inspiration moving across London.”
However concerns were raised by Green Party member Jenny Jones about local businesses being “driven out” by the redevelopment work going on in Hackney Wick and Fish Island - citing the Truman Brewery as an example.
Ms Jones said: “The feedback we’ve had is that these plans have been killing off the certain jobs and businesses in the more ‘dirty’ areas where there’s a lot of industry, all in favour of the ‘cleaner jobs’.”
Mr Johnson replied: “I cannot comment on individual cases, but I cannot agree on this. We support all jobs. These include the creative jobs and those in manufacturing where you can get your hands as dirty as you like, within reason.”
Mr Johnson also assured assembly members that new sites as part of Olympicopolis, such as University College London and V&A, will employ staff from the area rather than move workers from their current sites.
When questioned on how the Olympic legacy can be sustained past 2016 - when the mayor will leave his post and a new party could be in Government - Mr Johnson said it would be “perverse” for anyone to not want to continue with regeneration plans for Hackney and surrounding boroughs.
He said: “These [areas] are some of the poorest boroughs in the country. Why on earth would any Government want to interfere with projects that are going to increase employment and contribute towards GDP?”
When questioned on the future sustainability and costs of the LLDC, Mr Goldstone said: “We are looking to move towards a point where the LLDC is covering it’s own costs.”