The £292 million transformation of Olympic Park now in full swing

Last Updated: 27/11/12 2:20pm

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Olympic Park: The deconstruction programme is now underway

Olympic Park: The deconstruction programme is now underway

On Tuesday, the £292 million transformation of the Olympic Park moved into full gear, with the shell of temporary seats at the London 2012 Aquatics Centre stripped away.

It signalled the handover of the venue in Stratford, east London, from the London 2012 organisers who staged the Games to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which is charged with securing the site's economic future.

Soon after the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics in September, workmen moved back on to the site.

Generators, power cables and other materials and utilities including 165,000 square metres (1.776 million square feet) of tents, 240 kilometres (150 miles) of barriers, 140 kilometres (87 miles) of fencing and 100,000 square metres (1.076 million square feet) of temporary sports surfaces required to stage the Games have been removed.

Some of the arenas which formed the backdrop to medal-winning performances look a little different now. The Riverbank Arena, the BMX stands and the Olympic Stadium wrap have been removed.

"We have provided a platform for the Legacy Corporation (LLDC) to continue transforming the park into a park for future generations."
James Bulley

The Basketball Arena, the water polo venue and Riverside Arena have already been dismantled and are to be removed. As well as this, fencing, toilets, signs, media facilities and concession areas, workforce areas and medical tents have all been removed.

The deconstruction programme has already changed the face of the venue, with the site set to reopen in phases from July 27 next year as the newly-named Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

A neighbourhood of about 850 homes, to be known as Chobham Manor, is due to be built where the basketball arena once stood.

Milestone

The LLDC also need to connect the park to the surrounding area with new roads and pathways and complete the park's venues and parkland if the plans to make it a new part of London to "live, work, visit and enjoy" are to become a reality.

To mark the handover, Vicki Tough, an industrial abseiler, took down the last strip of the shell of the seating used on the east wing of the Zaha Hadid-designed Aquatic Centre.

LLDC executive director of infrastructure, Colin Naish, said: "Taking control of the park today is another major milestone and in only eight months' time the park will begin to re-open.

"Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be home to some of the best sporting and entertainment venues in the world, and will be a vibrant destination for people to live, work, visit and enjoy."

The whole park is set to open by spring 2014 however LLDC chief executive Dennis Hone has said the amount of work needed to convert the Olympic Stadium means it may not reopen until August 2015 at the earliest, and possibly not until August 2016.

The LLDC is exploring various design options to convert the stadium to meet the specifications of the four bidders in the running to use the venue, according to Mr Hone.

The velodrome will be the centrepiece yet mountain bike trails have also been earmarked and the BMX track is to be regraded for public use.

Eton Manor is to become a new sports facility called Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

The 2015 European Hockey Championships is to be staged there and a bid is in to host the 2014/16 ITF Wheelchair Tennis Masters Championship.

From the outside, the Copper Box will look the same when the park eventually reopens but it is to be turned into a public leisure centre capable of hosting competitions, community sports, cultural and business events, with a capacity of around 7,500.

James Bulley, London 2012 venues and infrastructure director, added: "We began our work straight after the Games to transform the venues, parklands and facilities in the Olympic Park and remove temporary infrastructure as quickly as we could.

"We have provided a platform for the Legacy Corporation (LLDC) to continue transforming the park into a park for future generations, and to carry on providing a fantastic experience for visitors.

"We wish the Legacy Corporation well for their future work."

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