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Guardian and Telegraph blissfully ignorant about Stratford City

Two newspapers have recently carried stories linking Stratford City and the Olympics. The Telegraph came up with 'London 2012 Olympics: legacy arrives early with the 2011 opening of Westfield Stratford' claiming the Olympics had resulted in the project being delivered 'seven years earlier than planned'. Dave Hill in the Guardian headlined his blog 'Olympic Park: Boris, shopping and visions of the good society' saying 'The Mayor profits from good news stories about the Olympics'.

I decided to send a few tweets and to log in to the Guardian to make some elementary points in response to Mr Hill, who also prognosticated about the Olympics and housing:

Stratford City is not a good news story about the Olympics. It has nothing to do with the Olympics but is an entirely separate project.

Likewise, all this stuff about housing and the Olympics is so much eyewash. Housing was going to be built in the Lea Valley whether the Olympics came and indeed it already was.

The fact that the Olympics was one big property rip off as was made plain by Jason Prior and Gareth Blacker (who lost £160million before he was shunted off to the Homes and Communities Agency) when they were interviewed back in 2003. As Prior made plain the Olympics actually held up development of the area. What the OIympics did do was force local businesses to sell land at industrial prices and thus lose out on the profits they would make from selling to housing developers. The Olympics picks up the profits from those sales. Of course the botched remediation may well cut into those profits .

The property press regularly writes rubbish about the prospects in Stratford .

The OPLC has made plain its intention to provide housing for the middle classes. The Olympics will result in housing price inflation as Sir Robin Wales well knew, whatever he may have said to Dave Hill, and this will mean higher 'affordable' rents as well.

Sirrobin and Newham were happy to see two low cost estates demolished at Clays Lane and Park Village and indeed they used the residents at Clays Lane as bargaining counters to get 1.25 bedrooms in new nominations for every bedroom lost and refused to assist in relocating residents for almost eight months to put pressure on the LDA. The loss of housing for around 1000 people at Clays Lane and Park Village is seldom counted in estimates of alleged housing gain.

More than that throughout the planning and CPO process Newham and the LDA claimed the Athletes' Village represented a housing legacy. It doesn't, as the ODA later admitted although it then tried to claim a legacy because of the credit crucnh. The housing was going to be built anyway and more would have been built at less cost to the State on the site of the Athletes Village if the Olympics hadn't come.

As with so many things, ignorance is bliss unless you happen to be in the way of the juggernaut.


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