An Olympic committee report has urged the Mayor of London and local councils to maintain a “long term commitment” to the regeneration of east London, if “positive change” is to be ensured in the wake of London 2012.
The Olympic and Paralympic Select Committee report, titled ‘Keeping the flame alive’, called upon Boris Johnson to take control of east London’s long term Olympic regeneration.
The Mayor must provide greater scrutiny over the “extent to which partners are making progress in delivering the legacy for east London” in regards to development and employment, said the report.
Lord Harris of Haringey, chairman of the committee, echoed the report’s suggestions: “Since the Games, the same political impetus and agreed deadlines no longer exist and many aspects of legacy are in danger of faltering, whilst some have fallen by the wayside.”
The report argued that the Mayor’s office should deliver yearly reports examining the performance of groups involved in legacy efforts and called for these groups to be “reviewed and debated” by the London Assembly to ensure the legacy effort does not lose its impetus in east London.
Many ideas on housing regeneration are reliant upon Olympic Park development, which is aimed at providing 10,000 homes for residents in the boroughs that surround Olympic Park, including Hackney and Tower Hamlets.
The report urged the London Legacy Development Corporation, the group that oversees developments in the Park, to “ensure a robust assessment” of what is required to ensure the Olympic Park development fits with the housing needs of local people.
The committee view the Olympic Park development as “having a direct bearing on future developments within the Park, and beyond,” and argue that it should be used as a catalyst for other housing developments across all six Olympic boroughs.
The report read: “There is potential for significant further housing development in other parts of the host boroughs. We believe it essential that the Mayor’s office brings forward housing development on these sites.”
In addition to the housing provisions, the report highlighted legacy regeneration as an opportunity to create jobs in the area.
With Tower Hamlets and Hackney facing unemployment levels well above the national average of 7.7%, the committee identified the increase of creative, digital and ICT businesses around the park as one way to provide more jobs for local people.
The report recommended that: “The LLDC, employers and the host boroughs do more to communicate the availability of these opportunities to local residents.”
In response to the report, the Mayor’s office said: “We welcome today’s call for the Mayoralty to have stronger powers to lead on the delivery of regeneration in east London.”
They maintained that the “regeneration and the legacy from the Games is delivering,” with “11,000 new homes, 10,000 jobs in the Olympic Park and skills and work experience for 70,000 Londoners from underrepresented groups.”
This latest report follows a study released in July by research and analysis group, SQW, which claimed that there had been a major shortfall in Olympic legacy jobs for local people.
In the study, it was found that long-term Olympic employment targets were being missed. SQW attributed missed targets to the termination of programmes such as the 2012 Employment Legacy Project, and the lack of funding appropriated to employment initiatives.