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New legacy chief "shatters" political consensus

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Adrian Warner | 12:23 UK time, Thursday, 10 May 2012

Daniel Moylan

Daniel Moylan is the new head of the London Legacy Development Corporation.

Boris Johnson's rushed appointment of a new Olympic legacy chief has shattered the political consensus around the 2012 Games.

Baroness Ford, the chair of the Legacy company which has already been successful in securing a future for most of the Olympic Park, is widely respected across all parties for the calm, but tough way, she has negotiated deals with private and public companies.

Ford, a Labour peer who was appointed in 2009 by the previous Labour Government, was expected to stay in control until after the Olympics and Paralympics.

But, fresh from his Mayoral election victory last week, Johnson has appointed Conservative councillor Daniel Moylan as head of the London Legacy Development Corporation.

I understand Ford is very disappointed by the decision which was made public before she or her chief executive Andrew Altman had a chance to inform staff.

She told me: "I would loved to have finished the job I started and closed out the deals on the Broadcast Centre and the Stadium. That will be the job of the new chairman. There's a huge construction job to be done on the Park after the Games."

I understand Ford is now keen to leave straight away, once a handover period has taken place with Moylan.

The 56-year-old has been deputy chairman of Transport for London (TfL) for the last four years.

He is also expected to advise the Conservative Mayor on aviation and stay on as a councillor and TfL board member.

Insiders have told me they are very surprised that Johnson hasn't gone for somebody from the construction industry, since there is a huge amount of building planned on the Park after the Games, from new homes to leisure facilities.

The Park is not expected to be opened to the public until a year after the Games finish.

I understand any deal for West Ham to become a tenant in the main stadium is expected to be concluded by October when the planning application for rebuilding the stadium must be submitted.

The football deal has dominated media coverage but the deals done by Ford and Altman on other aspects of the Park are far more significant in terms of jobs and legacy.

Baroness Ford

Baroness Ford has been widely respected for the way she has negotiated deals for the Olympic Park

The future of the Velodrome, the Aquatics Centre and the Handball Arena have all been finalised and the Orbit Tower is set to become a major tourist attraction.

The deal which allows the swimming centre to be subsidised by concerts and sports event in the Handball Arena is one of the most creative decision in the 2012 story.

It will mean local people will be able to swim in the pool for a reasonable price.

The Broadcasting Centre, often the hardest building to redevelop after the Games, has attracted interest from three major commercial organisations.

If a deal is done on that soon, as expected, it will be far more important for local jobs than whether West Ham decide to rent the stadium or not.

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