Olympics: London to retain rich legacy of venues after competitions

By Caroline Davies

The London 2012 Olympic Park. The Olympic stadium and Accor Mittal 'Orbit' Tower (left), and the Aquatic Centre and Water Polo pool (right). Photo / AP
The London 2012 Olympic Park. The Olympic stadium and Accor Mittal 'Orbit' Tower (left), and the Aquatic Centre and Water Polo pool (right). Photo / AP

After London 2012, there comes the legacy. At least, that is what the UK has been promised.

A major part of that will be realised within the vast Olympic Park itself.

Immediately the Olympians and Paralympians have departed, construction workers will return once again to the east London site whose arenas, pools and podiums have become so familiar to so many television viewers across the globe.

What was once industrial wasteland will be transformed from the Olympic site into the £300 million ($578 million) Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with new homes, schools, businesses, and open green spaces. Some 10,000 new homes making up five neighbourhoods are planned over the next 20 years, as well as a new education academy at Chobham Manor, and a health centre.

A future is planned for each of the main Olympic venues where dreams have been gloriously realised or brutally dashed in the events of the past fortnight.

Olympic Stadium

With a permanent lower-tier capacity of 25,000 and flexible temporary steel and concrete upper tier to hold a further 55,000 that can be dismantled after the Games, it is set to be the new national home for athletics and host to the IAAF 2017 World Athletics Championships. It is hoped it will be used for concerts and other cultural and arts events. In addition four bids for use have also been received from West Ham United FC, Intelligent Transport Services in association with Formula One, UCFB College of Football Business and Leyton Orient FC.

Athletes Village

It will become East Village as it is transformed into 2818 new homes with a mixture of affordable tenures and shared equity. Kitchens will be installed, along with new carpets or timber floors.

Aquatics Centre

The local community, clubs and schools as well as elite swimmers are expected to be among the 800,000 visitors a year it is hoped will visit this venue to be operated by Greenwich Leisure for 10 years starting next year. It is planned the centre will cater for national and European events, with regular users including Triathlon England and British Swimming.

Velodrome

This will form the heart of the new Lee Valley VeloPark for use by the local community, clubs and elite athletes and run by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. The site will include a reconfigured BMX track, a new mountain bike track, a new road cycle circuit, as well as a cafe, bike hire and cycle workshop facilities.

Eton Manor

Two separate venues will emerge from this site. A hockey centre with two pitches will become England Hockey's national events venue and regional performance centre, and home to England and GB hockey fixtures. Five hockey clubs are interested in relocating to the centre, which will host the 2016 European Hockey Championships.

Press and broadcast centres

iCity, the sole preferred bidder, aims to create a centre for technology, design and research.

The Copper Box

The fencing and handball venue will become a multi-use sports centre for community use, athlete training and events, operated by Greenwich Leisure. It is expected it will be used for international competition and community use in a wide range of indoor sports including basketball, handball, badminton, boxing, martial arts, netball, table tennis, wheelchair rugby and volleyball.

Eton Dorney

The Rowing Centre at Dorney Lake, 40km west of London, was already a world-class facility which was improved for the Games, and will continue to be used as a world-class training and competition facility.

Lee Valley White Water Centre

Built for the Olympics, it will become a world-class canoeing and kayaking facility for people of all levels of ability, and a major leisure attraction for white water rafting, hosting the 2015 Canoe Slalom World Championships.

Greenwich Park

The temporary arenas at the grassland enclosure will be dismantled. The equestrian course at the royal park is having work done to return it to public use. Elsewhere, work will start on revitalising the grass.

ExCel

The Olympic boxing venue will revert to its role as exhibition spaces in London's Docklands for awards ceremonies, conferences and other sporting events.

Horse Guards Parade

Beach volleyball will be replaced by Trooping the Colour at the parade ground as it reverts to its traditional role in London's ceremonial life.

- Observer

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