London 2012 Olympics housing legacy: Baroness Ford

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be one of the most exciting developments in London's history.

A place where new family-focused neighbourhoods will sit alongside a top visitor destination with its venues, open spaces and commercial opportunities bringing jobs and training to the area.

The 2012 Games is accelerating the regeneration of this part of London by decades.

Not only has a piece of land the size of Hyde Park been brought into public ownership, but it has been revitalised and new infrastructure introduced including five sporting venues, major transport improvements, 250 acres of open space and 3km of rejuvenated waterways.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company was set up well in advance of the 2012 Games to capitalise on this extraordinary set of assets.

Earlier this month, we outlined how the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park would bring the best of London into one place and help to connect an area that has been described by some as a 'tear in the fabric of East London.'

Family neighbourhoods

London's rich heritage and diversity has been our inspiration. We are taking the best aspects of its planning, architecture and neighbourhoods, and interpreting them for the 21st century.

Five new neighbourhoods will be created over the next 25 years, along with a network of supporting facilities including new schools, nurseries, health centres and faith and community spaces.

Our housing strategy has taken into consideration the number of high-density developments already being planned for the local area, the current state of the housing market, the positive response by developers and, importantly, the desire of local people who will want to live, work and bring up families in the area.

They wanted to see more family homes and homes with front and back private gardens. We have responded by putting them at the heart of our plans, making-up around 40% of the 11,000 new homes that will be built.

These homes will combine tradition and innovation in modern versions of London's Georgian and Victorian Squares and terraces, as well as riverside properties stretching along the banks of the Park's rejuvenated waterways.

Building bridges

Integrating the Park with the surrounding area is fundamental to our plans. A huge amount of work has been done on the fringe areas surrounding the Park with the local authorities to make lasting physical, social and economic connections.

Image caption The "South Plaza" will be an area of entertainment and apartments, overlooked by the Orbit tower

These include new road and foot bridges such as ones to Fish Island in Tower Hamlets, and the planned introduction of a new high street running from the north of the Park to the Olympic Village, forming a key link between Stratford and Hackney.

Spreading the benefits of economic opportunities are also crucial to integration.

We anticipate that the Park could provide between 8,000 and 10,000 jobs over the long term - in addition to 8,500 jobs in Westfield Stratford City shopping centre when it opens in 2011.

Business, creativity and innovation will be running themes with two main employment centres - the Broadcast and Press Centres and Westfield Stratford City - and we are working to ensure that local people can benefit from job training, and opportunities for small businesses and social enterprises.


There will also be opportunities linked to the Park's venues and 250 acres of open spaces as the area becomes a leading visitor destination.

The venues including the Stadium, Aquatics Centre and the ArcelorMittal Orbit will become a magnet for visitors, schools and community sport, while the open spaces will be brought to life through a thriving programme of events and attractions.

Work has begun on an events programme to be rolled out from mid 2013 and we will be calling on the market to come forward with proposals which could include cultural festivals, open-air concerts, food markets, sporting and community events and exhibitions.

All of these components will make the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park one of the defining moments in the history of a great global city. We believe regeneration depends on better access to jobs and training, better housing choice and balanced, stable communities.

The legacy plans will deliver all of these and more.

Baroness Ford is the Chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company and its board. From 2002 until 2007, she was the Chairman of English Partnerships, the national regeneration agency.

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