London’s Olympic and Paralympic Games bid took a further step forward today with the go-ahead from the Greater London Authority for plans for the main Olympic site.
The planning application for the Olympic Park, the site near Stratford in east London that would include the main stadium, the aquatics centre and athletes village, gained the go-ahead from the four boroughs it covers – Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest – earlier this month.
The Greater London Authority’s decision to green light the plans was taken by chief executive Anthony Mayer under authority delegated from the Mayor. The plans were submitted by the London Development Agency (LDA). They are also being considered by the Government.
Anthony Mayer said: ‘The London Development Agency and the boroughs have successfully addressed all of the concerns the we raised at the first stage of the application, including those on the relocation of businesses in the Lower Lea Valley. These plans will give London’s bid an enormous head start.’
Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: ‘The application for the Olympic Park will provide exceptional sporting facilities and accommodation for a landmark London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 and for many decades after. It also lays the foundation for the comprehensive regeneration of the Lower Lea Valley in east London, bringing thousands of new jobs and affordable homes to the area, as well as creating the largest new park the capital has seen in centuries.’
Tony Winterbottom, Executive Director of Regeneration and Development at the London Development Agency, said: ‘The LDA, the Mayor and our partners are committed to the regeneration of east London whether we win the Olympics or not. However the Games would focus attention and bring forward investment faster than would otherwise be possible.
‘We are delighted the Greater London Authority has given the green light to the Olympic Park plans.
‘We look forward to continuing to work closely with businesses and residents in the area to help local businesses and the local community reap the maximum rewards. The bid is a fantastic opportunity to transform this part of east London into a place in which people and businesses are clamouring to congregate.’
The LDA will continue its work with businesses that may need to relocate if London wins the Games, offering market value for properties and a financial package to mitigate the effects of any disruption. The LDA is going far beyond its legal obligations, and far beyond the practice of most major construction schemes, in negotiating with businesses now before any decision on which city is to host the 2012 Olympic Games.
The London Development Agency estimates that if London wins the right to host the Games, a total of 5,000 jobs will be relocated – however in the long term the Olympic Games will create 11,000 jobs within the Olympic Park alone. Many more spin off business opportunities and jobs would also be created.
Lord Coe, Chairman of London 2012, said: ‘This is another significant milestone in our campaign to win the Games. It is very important to have the backing of the Mayor because this sends a clear message to the International Olympic Committee that we are serious about winning, and that London itself is fully behind our bid. We will be able to put in our Candidate File, to be submitted in November, that we have obtained planning permission for the centrepiece of our Olympic blueprint.’
Stephen O’Brien, Chairman of London First, the business campaign group said: ‘Hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 will change London forever. The venue proposals meet the long term needs of future generations and will help create thousands of new jobs, houses, communities and sporting facilities in the Lower Lea Valley, the entire East End of London and beyond. This planning decision is a great first step towards London winning the Games. We look forward to the Government endorsing this decision.’