- 9 Oct 08, 02:06 PM
It was only a matter of time before we started to see real evidence of the credit crisis hitting the Olympics. Now we've got it.
The media and broadcast centre, usually a complex so huge that many of the 20,000 journalists who work there get lost on a regular basis, was supposed to become a centre for the creative arts in Hackney after 2012. There was even talk of Bollywood making its London base there.
But Hackney mayor Jules Pipe fears that 80% of the 1.3m sq ft complex will have to be scrapped after the Games because of cashflow problems.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to raise private cash for the £400m project.
That means that London 2012 may be forced to build a temporary structure for most of the building. It also means that Hackney may not be left with anywhere near the kind of facilities which the council had hoped for to help create new jobs.
The Olympic Delivery Authority is looking to save money across the whole of the £9.3 billion Oiympic project. The current review of costs is not finished yet.
But this is clear evidence that London 2012 officials are starting to think about putting on a flat-pack Olympics. It is significant that the Hackney mayor has decided to break ranks and express his views in public at a conference on Olympic legacy.
He is calling on the Government, London authorities, and the Olympic Delivery to help solve the money problems.
There is also the question about whether a temporary structure will work for the world's media. London mayor Boris Johnson has already admitted that it is crucial to make sure the requirements of the media are met.
There are two basic reasons for that. Firstly, the broadcasters pay millions of pounds for the exclusive rights for the Games and can expect to have decent facilities for their staff.
Secondly, as Johnson admitted, it is important that journalists are happy with their working facilities. Get on the wrong side of them and London could face fierce criticism which will be bad for the city and bad for Britain.
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