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Put out more (Olympic) flags

.: The Olympic flame passes brightly through somewhere in the the Uyghur Autonomous Province !The Olympic flame passes brightly through somewhere in the the Uyghur Autonomous Province !


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Feeding the Olympics


Originally posted Yule 2007

A new report 'Feeding the Olympics' from the Soil Association, Sustain and the New Economics Foundation, calls on London 2012 to deliver on their promise to be the greenest and healthiest Games in terms of the food they provide, and sets out how this can be done:

"This report is a call to action for everyone involved in catering for the London 2012 Olympic Games, to ensure that the food served before, during and after the Games is local, seasonal and organic as was promised in London’s bid


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So who profits from Olympic developments?

Property speculation

Labour MP Clive Betts has highlighted the need for transparency in public private sector deals for delivery of the Olympic developments and has called for parliamentary scrutiny of such arrangements. Deals were being discussed with Stratford City Developments ahead of consent for the Olympic bill to ensure conversion of flats into housing for 4,500 athletes (R. Booth, The Guardian, July 29, 2005). In 2003, the consortium Stratford City Developments and the LDA agreed not to frustrate the other's planning applications. The Guardian article notes: "A director of the consortium, Sir Stuart Lipton, was also a senior government advisor on the Olympics plans at the time of the co operation agreement. He was later forced to resign from his post as chairman of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment following accusations of conflict of interest between his role as government adviser and a leading private developer".


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LDA keeps its word! Open space at Eastway to close.

The LDA acknowledged there would be a loss of open space during the construction of the Olympic Park. I received the following information after several enquiries.


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Retail therapy

Remarkably, refutation of the inevitable benefits of hosting the Games is considered within the Olympic planning documents (Retail, Leisure and Sport Impact Assessment Appendices, Appendix 4 to the Environmental Statement, January 2004) as part of an attempt to calculate the amount and type of retail floor space that the Games could support. The Atlanta Games of 1996 was a retail disaster.


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Cash crisis looms

The £550 million funding for the London Olympics will initially come from London council tax payers, £1.5 billion from the National Lottery, followed by a further £75 million from council tax, and £250 million from the London Development Authority (LDA). The International Olympic Committee (IOC) insists that host cities underwrite all liabilities. £15 million was spent on the London bid alone (Blowe, 2004; 2005).


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Rising East Online September 2006 edition

Links to four articles in Rising East Online worth looking at

Regeneration Without End: Urban and Social Change in the East of London since the 1890s —William Mann;


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The Aftermath - of the London2012 stadium

After putting up heroic resistance in the public interest the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) finally gave in and published the details of the contract with West Ham for the London Olympics stadium after being ordered to do so by the Information Tribunal. However, a search of the LLDC website for the contract produces 'no result' and does not provide any trace of the document and nor is it mentioned under 'News' or 'Press Releases'. The full agreement can be found here. Interestingly the details of the contract had not been pursued by any public authority or by GLA Assembly Members, by the European Union or even by rival football clubs like Tottenham Hotspur or Leyton Orient but by Supporters groups from fourteen different clubs. Apparently Boris Johnson had said he would be happy for the contract to be published. If so it is hard to understand why he didn't push for this to happen, as the LLDC is very much his baby, rather than allow it to spend over £21,000 fighting the case.

The BBC outlined the details. The final cost of the stadium is £701million with the cost of conversion £272million, up from the original estimate of £160million. West Ham's contribution to this refit was £15million. It will pay £2.5million rent per year with a scale of charges depending on the club's footballing success or failure. However, it will not pay for a variety of services like security, undersoil heating, floodlighting, cleaning which are worth up to another £2.5million.

The BBC claims the stadium will be a multi-use venue. It is hard to see the point of this statement. It is a 'multi-use' venue because of the enormous amount of money spent on converting it to accommodate athletics and football! However, if a two month window for, in all probability, one major athletics event a year qualifies it as a multi-use venue then this is a strange understanding of multi-use. The fact that music events will also be hosted is hardly unusual for stadiums of this type, many football clubs host such events without this kind of expenditure.

However, in this article the BBC fails to mention the £40million loaned by Newham to West Ham as part of the deal although back in 2011 it reported on concerns in Newham and among some Newham councillors that the deal had little to offer the community and highlighted the control exercised by Newham's Mayor, Robin Wales, who is able to use political patronage to silence opposition in a borough without any non-Labour councillors. The BBC reported:

One serving councillor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "A significant number of councillors have reservations.
"There are massive doubts over supposed community benefits."
The councillor continued: "Why are we arranging a loan for a private company? West Ham should go to a bank like everybody else.
Councillors are afraid to speak out. This rings alarm bells.
Anita Shields, Independent auditor
"The financial football model is hardly blessed by success."
But not one serving politician will go on the record.
The councillor said: "The problem is the mayoral system.
"People are frightened to go against the mayor. They are frightened of a lack of patronage.
"He's had almost the same executive since 2000 - on £40,000 each. People want a bit of the action."


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