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London2012 Housing Legacy down to 4,300 homes inside the Olympic Park

Two years ago I asked the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) for its projections for housing by 2031. It came back with a figure of 6,800 homes. This had to be revised down to 6,650, then further revised down, although not acknowledged by the LLDC, to 5,650 and finally to 4,700 homes.

The LLDC quotes a completely different figure of 10,000 homes on its website. This total includes homes on several other sites sites, including East Village, the former Athletes’ Village, and Glasshouse Gardens, which are both on the Stratford City site, and Strand East, none of which have anything to do with the Olympics.

The LLDC also likes to refer to something called the Legacy Communities Scheme (LCS), which includes Rick Roberts Way, which is outside the Olympic Park, but which they include in the Pudding Mill Neighbourhood. This site would have been developed regardless of the Olympics.

As above, the LLDC’s response to my 2016 FoI request needed some revision!

The Legacy Communities Scheme (LCS) has planning permission for up to 6800 homes across five new neighbourhoods by 2031. This breaks down to up to 850 at Chobham Manor; 650 at East Wick; 850 at Sweetwater; and 1700 at Pudding Mill. The LCS also includes a further 2600 homes at Marshgate, however, the proposals for this neighbourhood will be reviewed as part of the Olympicopolis project, our proposals for a new University and Cultural Quarter.

In fact that breakdown does not equal 6800 but 6650. In answer to a follow up question on this discrepancy the LLDC said:

The Legacy Communities Scheme outline planning permission (LPA ref. 11/90621/OUTODA) consented 641,817sqm of residential floorspace. This identified that approximately 6,800 homes could be provided, however, as an outline consent this could only be indicative.

Further analysis of the figures showed that this total was also incorrect as it had already been acknowledged that the Marshgate Wharf site would not create as many homes as it was to be occupied by University College London with a loss of 1.000 homes, taking the total down to 5650 homes.

However, this figure had to be reduced again as it was then being said in public consultations that most of the housing on that site would be for students, leaving only 650 out of the original 2,600 available to the public.

That reduced the total available to the public in the Olympic Park to 4,700 homes.

But the LLDC is nothing if not inventive.

In September 2017 I came across a sign at the edge of the Sweetwater site which repeated the claim that the LLDC would create 6,800 homes. I decided to make a new Freedom of Information request:

I understand that this figure represents a total in a planning document. However, as I understand it this does not represent the number of homes which will actually be built. I would therefore be grateful if you could confirm how many homes for the public (not including student housing) are expected to be built at each the five neighbourhoods in the Park.

The LLDC decided it had to stick with this figure regardless of the fact that it had already contradicted it in earlier responses:

The LCS planning permission includes 759,900sqm of development which indicatively provides for up to 6,800 homes across seven Planning Delivery Zones (PDZ)

So I then had to start again to get a true picture of exactly how many homes the LLDC expected to provide:

“I would therefore like to ask London Legacy to provide me its present predictions for the delivery of housing on the Olympic Park. Please provide a breakdown of the housing expected to be delivered at the various neighbourhoods inside the Olympic Park, including the total numbers, the numbers of different types of housing, tenancies, types of affordable housing, at each site.”

The LLDC then came back with the answer:

A new cultural and university quarter which will include space for the London College of Fashion, Sadler’s Wells, V&A and other cultural institutions as well as residential development of approximately 600 homes, however, proposals are still being developed… If consented, this would reduce the number of homes approved on the LCS plots to c4,700, plus student accommodation for 1,800 students.

So the LLDC was now agreeing with my own estimate of 4,700 homes available to the public in the Olympic Park following my earlier FoI request.

However, the problem with this is that the figure includes housing at Rick Roberts Way, which is not in the Olympic Park, which is what I asked for:

“Please provide a breakdown of the housing expected to be delivered at the various neighbourhoods inside the Olympic Park, including the total numbers.”

The LLDC had decided to break down its housing at Pudding Mill into two sites, one Pudding Mill, the other Rick Roberts Way.

The Pudding Mill neighbourhood comprises two sites:
(i) Pudding Mill Lane has consent for approximately 1,311 homes of which 43% are to be affordable subject to viability; and

(ii) Rick Roberts Way has consent for approximately 398 of which 53% are to be affordable subject to viability.

In fact, I hadn’t noticed that in its first answer in 2016 the LLDC had managed to smuggle the Rick Roberts Way figure into the Pudding Mill Neighbourhood total. I hadn’t spotted this at the time because it had only referred to Pudding Mill without making it plain this included the Rick Roberts Way site.

Rick Roberts Way is not an Olympic Park site so this ‘approximately 398’ figure has to be subtracted from the 4,700 total above. Not 10,000, not 6,800, not even 4,700.

This leaves a grand total of housing available to the public on the Olympic Park at approximately 4,300 homes.

Even lower than I had earlier estimated to be the case.

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