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London Legacy Seminars - don't expect critical thinking

This is the lineup for a panel to discuss the London2012 sports legacy for the London Legacies Group Seminar entitled: 'Has the Sports Legacy from the 2012 lived up to the commitments made?' Every single participant has a connection to the London Olympics.

Richard Sumray: Chair

Richard has spent most of his working life focusing on London issues in a number of areas: local government, health ,policing, social care the arts and sport. Was responsible for two London strategies for sport. Co-led a bid for London to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2000 and then started work on a bid in 1994 for London that became the successful city for 2012. Took the concept of hosting the Games to East London to lead a step change to the regeneration of the area. Currently chairs Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in West London, Health Education England South London and Alcohol Concern and chairs in the Family and Youth Courts in central London.

Alan Skewis: Speaker

Alan is the Director of E20 Stadium LLP, the joint venture set up by LLDC and Newham Council to oversee the future of the former Olympic Stadium. Alan’s recent appointment to this Post is the latest in a line of roles Alan has played in the London Olympic project.

Alan has worked at Sport England, most notably as the Head of the English Institute of Sport Facilities programme. The programme funded over £120m of facilities focused on supporting elite athlete training. Major developments at Loughborough University, Manchester and Sheffield all benefited from the programme, as well as small, specific investments including a bobsleigh start track at the University of Bath.

Alan joined London Borough of Newham in 2003 to run the Council’s sport and healthy living service. London 2012 was then bidding for the Games, and Alan’s role included making sure the Bid was supported by the local community. Once London had won the bid Alan moved over to a dedicated Newham Unit for the 2012 Games. The Unit provide an integrated approach to using the 2012 Games to support the physical and social regeneration of the area. Alan co-ordinated local sport, education, employment and health programmes. During the Games he worked with LOCOG to provide opportunities to get residents into the Olympic Park to see events.

Alan’s remit also included the legacy of the sports venues left in the QEOP. The Stadium became Alan’s main focus following the Council’s investment of £40m in the venue in 2012. As well as managing the Council’s investment in the venue’s physical transformation work, he has worked on the 2015 Rugby World Cup, established the Great Newham London Run and co-ordinated being a host for the 2014 Tour de France. His recent appointment to E20 will see him continuing to work for an East London legacy from the stadium once it opens permanently in 2016.

Andy Sutch: Speaker

Born in Wakefield, after university Andy taught geography at City of London School and in 1976 joined the Sports Council working on facility planning before moving to the regions where he became the Regional Director for London in 1989 and was also the service team Leader for Rugby Union until 2003.

In 1992 Andy was a team member bidding on behalf of London to stage the 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games and a director of Corporate Games in London in 1992. In 1999 he was a cofounder of “Cultural Partners for London” which lead the sport and cultural activity lobby through to the election of a London Mayor and the GLA. In 2003 he was part of a joint FO and BAE programme providing advice on sports participation to the government of Saudi Arabia. Andy joined Business In Sport and Leisure in 2003 including a P/T secondment to the London 2012 Bid Team and from 2014 was a director of Sportsgroup.

He is a Board Director of London Sports appointed by the Mayor, Chairman of London Council for Sport and Recreation, Council Member at London Playing Fields Foundation and Chair of his local sports council. He is a Fellow of both CIMSPA and the RSA, has an Honorary Fellowship from St Mary’s University College Twickenham and is a member of USSPT (Sport for All in European Cities) Group presenting papers on community engagement in Barcelona, Florence and Rome..

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row, row, row…

…your boat/
gently up the creek without a paddle

Sometimes the arrogance of these elite athletes (or at least their governing bodies) is beyond parody: International Rowing Federation "shocked" by Rio Mayor telling people not to buy tickets for their sport


Not so many aboard! London bus use declined in 2012

Another transport titbit from 2012. This article showing that the number of passengers using London's buses declined during 2012 for the first time in over a decade slipped past Games Monitor's dedicated team!

TfL's surface transport managing director Leon Daniels explained to BBC News that the decline was not due to fare rises: "Last year it was the Olympic Games, so during the course of 2012 on all sorts of days across the summer, we had lots of our streets closed and here at TfL we were asking people to travel to work different ways."

That TfL was encourgaging people to avoid using public transport was certainly borne out by the pleas of businesses faced with the collapse in trade during the first week of the Games.

According to TfL 2.3 billion bus journeys were made in London in 2012 representing a drop of 0.4%, the first time there had been a decline since 1998.

Ting! Ting!

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that legacy of rough sleeping

they still seem to be forging ahead with their efforts to make London a world class centre of excellence for rough sleeping:
Number of people sleeping rough in London doubles in past five years

but then of course we must always bear in mind their pre-Olympics aspirations were so much less ambitious:
rough sleeping in London to be eliminated by 2012 olympics: screenshot from Google search for "rough sleeping in London to be eliminated by 2012 olympics"rough sleeping in London to be eliminated by 2012 olympics: screenshot from Google search for "rough sleeping in London to be eliminated by 2012 olympics"

Legacy, eh?

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newham goes supernova

Convergence is coming, that long anticipated regeneration supernova is starting to explode:

As other east London boroughs settle down, the Olympic borough is beginning to catch up, locking many out the market

But success for some spells disaster for others. Newham has traditionally been a place to go for social, affordable and cheap housing

Newham shows the steepest house price rises in the country

Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years

Hoorah for Sir Robin!
Cut hair not homes: Focus E15 action at Carpenters Estate

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Parking the legacy

Fancy a swim at the Aquatic Centre with your kids? Need to use the car park? Better be sure in that case you’ve got cash to feed the machine because it won’t accept a card.

Friends took their two children aged 12 and 8 for what they said was an enjoyable swim. Enjoyable, that is, until they had to go home. They had overrun the free hour’s parking so had to pay £1.50, a perfectly reasonable charge. Only problem was the machine only took cash and they didn’t have any. In most cases you can pay a parking charge by card and they went round the different machines to see which one took a card. But none did.

The notice at the entrance hadn’t said ‘cash only’ and when they asked at the reception desk of the Aquatic Centre no-one had said it was cash only.

Aquatic Centre car park signAquatic Centre car park sign.

So back they went to the reception desk to see if they could make a payment there only to find the parking charge was nothing to do with them. They were directed to a machine at the exit of the car park to talk to a faceless voice which told them they could only pay by cash. When they said they didn’t have any cash they were told, rudely, too bad, you’ll have to find a cash machine

By now it was dark and getting cold on a January Sunday night with two small children. The Aquatic Centre was in the middle of nowhere and neither the receptionist nor the faceless voice could tell them where the nearest cash machine was.

They asked for the gate to be lifted so that they could go home and sort out the payment later. No, no money, no exit. By now a further hour had elapsed so the charge was now £3. They found another family was in the same plight, also queuing up at the reception desk without the cash to get out.

They decided to call the police to be let out. The police came and were sympathetic but could do nothing about the gate. The officer said this was the second time he had been called to the car park for this reason. One officer, two calls? How many other officers and how many other calls?

But at least the police officer was able to say where the nearest cash point was, at the bottom of the absurd pile of metal known as the Orbit.

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The fightback is on - now in San Francisco

Now San Francisco joins all those other cities across Europe, Japan and the United States that don't want to host the Olympics!!

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Opportunities lost - if Boston gets the Olympics

It's a question being asked more and more about the Olympics. $20billion? Is it really worth it? For three weeks? Yeah, it's a lot! What could we get for that money? Jobs, health care, elderly care, roads, education, homeless shelters, affordable housing... NoBostonOlympics videos of Bostonians talking back about lost opportunities, lack of transparency in the bid, thumbs down to Boston2024....

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Lest we forget - Dow, the company the IOC likes to do business with

Lest we forget - Dow, the company the IOC likes to do business with....

'Lawyers with the organization EarthRights International spent 15 years trying to make Dow Chemical pay to clean up the contamination of the soil and groundwater around the old factory site. In the summer of 2014, a US district court in New York ruled that the company did not have to pay for cleanup work -- on grounds that the project manager who was in charge of plant construction and waste disposal had only been employed by the Indian subsidiary.'

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London2012 - the miracle of hotels in Stratford

Popular London2012 miracle stories keep cropping up, often in an academic context. Recent examples were provided at the ongoing UEL seminars held at the LLDC headquarters in the poshly named Montfichet Road at Stratford City. The upmarket de Montfichet was a Norman baron who founded Langthorne Abbey in Stratford back in the early 12th Century. Another classy name thrown up by recent events to inject an estate agent inspired aristocratic ambience in the E20 zone is Chobham Manor, the new address of the former rather down at heel Clays Lane.

Among recent purveyors of Olympic miracles in East London were two representatives of local boroughs. One, a business research manager from Newham, a Doctor no less, recounted how sport participation in the borough had been boosted by the Olympics, a report strangely at variance with recent findings which showed the Olympic borough was the least active in the whole of England. Another miracle she reported was there had been a legacy of 'shopping improvements' arising from London2012. When it was pointed out that this particular miracle related to the aforementioned Stratford City, a project unconnected with the Olympics, she declined to comment further saying she had no expertise in miracles of regeneration.

Another miracle jobber at the same event came all the way from neighbouring Hackney, where he works for the council to promote business, to tell of the wondrous emergence of business hubs which had been found near to the recently developed railway stations on the reopened and extended East London Line, now renamed the Overground on account of the fact that most of it is above the ground. This miracle of the hubs had only occurred because the Olympics had brought about the redevelopment of this Overground line. The council man was considerably dismayed when it was mentioned that the development of the railway had nothing to do with the Olympics and after some scratching on a note pad agreed that this was indeed correct, but he still insisted that the railway would not have re-emerged as quickly without the impetus provided by the miraculous year of 2012, a suggestion vigorously disputed from the floor.

Undeterred, the man from Hackney produced another miraculous event, the Radio One music festival on Hackney Marshes, which had attracted great multitudes to the borough and which Hackney wished to repeat, another event which owed its existence to the wondrous Olympic year of 2012. He refused to be put off by the naysayer in his audience who pointed out that this event had roused the ire of the many sportsmen and women of East London, supported by their national associations, who had been unable to use the Marshes for their traditional activities of hitting and kicking round objects over specially laid out pitches both because the Marshes had been fenced off unnecessarily for many weeks and because it had then been severely damaged by the multitudes and their vehicles who had only been on the Marshes for a few hours. Indeed this impact had mirrored the extraordinary damage done by the Olympics to a large area of land over many years and to those living and working there for a mere few weeks of sport. The devoted believer considered all this disruption had been worthwhile even though the anger of the national sports associations for football, rugby and cricket, who had provided money for the Marshes to be used for sport, had meant there was no chance of a repeat festival in the immediate future.

The council man from Hackney also claimed another miracle from within the Olympic Park, where he said excellent opportunities for employment of local people were being created even though it was again pointed out thousands of jobs done by local people had been lost by the removal of companies from the Park and few of the new jobs to be created at the Tech Hub at the former Media Centre would go to local people. At which point he fell silent.

Earlier, at another event in the same sequence of seminars, a noble lord, the Lord Harris, ventured into the Montfichet headquarters to declare there had been a great and miraculous legacy of new stadiums built in the Olympic Park. The noble lord had chaired a specially selected committee of the House of noble Lords into the legacy of the events in East London, a matter which has been frequently investigated for the benefit of the poor of this part of London. He felt it was unnecessary, and indeed impossible, to consider what might have happened if the recent miraculous events had not happened, which made it difficult to consider the merits of the events as there was nothing to compare them with.

The noble Lord was also imprecise about the miraculous gains, as for example in his brief report on the miracle of sports participation in which he failed to mention the decline in participation by the target 16 to 25 years age group. He was somewhat taken aback when this was pointed out and that the event had been sponsored by sellers of fizzy drinks and fatty foods whose products were often consumed by members of this very age group and that research showed an unhealthy lifestyle was more to blame for obesity than a lack of participation in sport. He had the grace to laugh when he was asked how the miraculous stadiums counted as a legacy even though they had already been paid for and they had actually cost more than they should have and when many had been knocked down as they would never be used again, while the Olympic stadium was now a football stadium which the Olympic Minister had said we did not need as we already had a football stadium at Wembley.

Despite these setbacks other devotees were determined that miracles had indeed occurred and fixed on how a number of hotels had been built and had miraculously survived in the vicinity of Stratford. The noble lord concurred with this report and noted that hotels had also been built in the vicinity of Brent Cross but had not survived, proof if any was needed of how miraculous the events in Stratford had really been.

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