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2012 Athletes’ Village ‘Time Lapse’ Legacy

Despite admitting that there is no housing legacy from the Athletes’ Village, as the housing would have been built anyway, the ODA is still claiming the Athletes’ Village is an Olympic Legacy, a kind of Time Lapse Legacy, because they assert that the involvement of the Olympics means the project will be delivered earlier than it would otherwise have been, see article ‘2012 Legacy Housing Double Counting’. So I decided to ask another FoI question to establish when the ODA thought the housing would have been delivered if the ODA had not taken over the site and to ask them to further explain their reasoning.

Here is my question.

Dear Mr Cheyne

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

We refer to your further request for information under the Freedom of Information Act(FOIA) received by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) on 11 August 2008 requesting the following information:

1. In your recent response you say the housing on Stratford City (now called Stratford 2011), now part of the Athletes' Village, would not have been delivered by 2012. However, because of the Olympics this housing will not be delivered until 2013 at the earliest as the housing will have to be modified, so I do not think 2012 should be the date for comparison. The rest of Stratford City including, as I understand it, some housing is expected to be delivered by 2011. On what basis can you say the housing at the Village would not have been delivered by 2013 and what was the date for delivery as set out in the original plans?

Their response was as follows:

Item 1

Before the inclusion of the Stratford City housing into the Athlete’s Village, there was no planned delivery date of this housing.

Hardly a comprehensive answer! So, according to the ODA they had no idea when the housing would be delivered, which makes it hard to see how they can say it would not have been delivered by 2013. They make no response to the fact that the rest of Stratford City is to be built by 2011.

However, it’s actually the case that a project must be started within a certain period after planning permission is granted or the permission lapses and a new application has to be lodged. In this case outline permission was granted in 2004 which, as I understand it, would require final permission to be granted within another three years and the project would normally have to start within a further five years, meaning the expected completion date would have been 2012/2013! Their response fails to mention any of these conditions, which would represent a ‘planned delivery date of this housing’.

The ODA is forever looking for new ways to incorporate all local projects into the Legacy. The Legacy credit crunch avoidance argument, that even if the project has no inherent legacy value it has nevertheless gained one because of the credit crunch, which would have delayed the project if the ODA had not stepped in, has also been deployed by David Higgins in the case of the rest of the Stratford City development, see article '2012 Blog**ng Lies and Censorship'. Of course, the credit crunch is also causing difficulties for the 2012 Games, particularly in terms of raising funds for the Athletes’ Village and in addition the Village is also getting smaller. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Shoring up the Legacy is no different. Maybe it should be called the 'Legacy Crunch'!


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