Peter Tudor, Director of Venues, London Legacy Development Corporation talks about the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
This summer in an east London park, records were broken, dreams were realised and thousands were wowed by both sporting endeavour and British hospitality. Now the Games are over, people have started to ask ‘what’s next?’
Organisers have been asking this question since the moment London first bid for the Games. A legacy body for the park was set up three years ago and we’ve been honing those plans since.
Now it’s time to put the plans into action, there is much work to be done to turn the park from a space suitable for hosting the greatest sporting competition in the world into somewhere that people can live, work and enjoy on a daily basis.
Temporary venues like the Basketball Arena, Riverbank Arena and Waterpolo Arena will be taken down, while others such as the Aquatics Centre need to be dramatically altered to ensure they are suitable for long term use.
Over the coming months, the Legacy Corporation will transform the Olympic site into a new piece of the city, to be known as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The new park will host 250 acres of open space, almost four miles of waterways, up to 8,000 homes and a new commercial district which will bring jobs to the area. This will sit alongside the five world-class sporting venues which will remain in the park, the ArcelorMittal Orbit and a host of new attractions.
All these fantastic facilities will be available for people to use at affordable prices. So a swim in the Aquatics Centre or hiring a court in the Copper Box will be the same price as using a leisure centre in neighbouring boroughs. The stadium’s warm-up track will become a community facility and there will be also community events within the stadium itself, as well as top-level competitions such as the 2015 European Hockey Championships and the 2017 World Athletics Championships.
The new park will open in phases, starting on 27 July 2013, exactly one year after the Olympic Opening Ceremony. It will be fully open by spring 2014 with a packed programme of concerts, events and festivals to attract visitors – we’re expecting more than nine million visits a year from 2016.
The park will also be a place to live and work. Work on building the first of the new neighbourhoods starts soon – meaning new family homes will be ready to move into by late 2014. Inspired by the best of London’s architecture and design, these neighbourhoods will be supported by new schools, nurseries, health and community centres. The development of the press and broadcast centres into a vast commercial space will also bring up to 4,000 jobs to the park in the long term.
This summer was no ordinary summer and its legacy will be no ordinary park.
Find out more: www.london.gov.uk/gifts/park-life