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Will the Athletes Village provide adequate community benefits after the Olympic Games ?

While recently reading the New Economics Foundation report 'Fools Gold, How the 2012 Olympics is selling East London short, and a 10 point plan for a more positive local legacy', I came across a reference to a report '2012 Home Games' published in 2006 by East Thames Group. East Homes, a part of the group, is a Registered Social Landlord which is "the largest multi-tenure landlord across east London and Essex, providing general needs accommodation and home ownership initiatives for the Group.”

'2012 Home Games' “sets out the outcomes of research undertaken by the East Thames Group on the impacts of the Olympics on social housing and other housing for people on low incomes in previous host cities. The published report contains conclusions and recommendations which are relevant to all those organisations which are pledged to the success of the London Olympics in terms of the sustainable benefits to local residents and communities.

The research indicates that little was known about the aspects of previous Olympic Games which related to housing for people on low incomes and that the staging of the games impacted on both existing and future housing for these groups. Given that the proposed Olympic Village in Stratford includes a significant proportion of social housing which is an important element of the legacy, and that a lot of existing housing in the Stratford area is for people on low incomes, we felt that an understanding of previous experiences would be a useful addition in planning the games.

Conclusions and recommendations

  • Planning must be early, thorough and include the post-Olympic Games sustainability and management of assets and facilities.

  • Substantial increases in land and property prices must be anticipated and measures introduced to prevent profiteering and speculation at the expense of present and future generations of local residents.
  • Provision must be made to accommodate many thousands of additional construction workers for five years before 2012 without unreasonable strain or disturbance for local residents.
  • It will be important to ensure that the percentage of Olympic-related housing allocated for post-Games use as social housing is maintained and to anticipate economic and commercial pressures for this element to be reduced by events before 2013.
  • There will need to be a clear focus on promoting the training and employment of local workers on all public and Olympic Games related contracts for construction and services.
  • Consideration should be given to devising new cooperative multi-agency methods to advise and protect tenants in all parts of the private rented sector who are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of the rapid rise in property values.
  • There needs to be a process for identifying households most at risk of displacement before and during the Olympic Games and a plan to protect their position.
  • It may be appropriate to promote the establishment of an independent Social Impact Committee to monitor and report on the impact of Olympic Games related developments on housing, employment and social services.
  • The aim of all Olympic Games projects and initiatives in east London should be to create new and better neighbourhoods which are to be temporarily used by athletes and officials during the few weeks of the event.”

See more at: 2012 Home Games C & R.pdf attached below

Download full report at: 2012 Home Games

In their introduction to '2012 Home Games' their researchers wrote :“In order to contribute to the achievement of this local success, East Thames Group is committed to playing a full part by influencing policy constructively, acting as a vigorous member of cross-sectoral partnerships and identifying and exploiting new opportunities for the benefit of local residents and communities."

In March 2007 the Lend Lease consortium won the contract to develop the Olympic Village and Zones 2 - 7 of Stratford City. The Lend Lease consortium includes East Thames Group, First Base and Crosby Lend Lease. Under the terms of the proposed agreement, Lend Lease and its partners will develop the site in two phases.

Phase One, which has an estimated value of £2 billion, involves the development of approximately 4,200 residential dwellings and related accommodation that will become the Village for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Lend Lease will be responsible for all aspects of the project including funding, design and construction, and marketing and sale of the completed product.

It is anticipated that under the proposed agreement Phase Two will involve the Lend Lease team refurbishing the Olympic Village following completion of the 2012 Games, and also developing up to another 500,000 square metres of space to complete the regeneration of this area of Stratford City. The elements of the Stratford City development to be undertaken by Lend Lease include the bulk of the scheme's legacy housing, commercial and hotel development. This phase has a potential value of around £3.5 billion , assuming development over the period to 2020.

See more at: Athletes' Village designs revealed for Stratford City

See also: Seven architects appointed to Olympic Village

See also: : Olympic Village costs double to £500m

See also: Crack team rides in to save Olympic Village

It is worth looking again at the New Economics Foundation report where they investigate the difficulties which East Thames Group are likely to encounter when attempting to ensure beneficial outcomes for social provision within the Athletes Village after the Games are over.

See more at: Athletes Village NEF recommendations 2008.pdf attached below

2012 Home Games C & R.pdf71.71 KB
Athletes Village NEF reccommendations 2008.pdf65.47 KB

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