diamond geezer

 Wednesday, April 09, 2014

What a glorious open space Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is, with broad skylines and vistas across East London. Enjoy it while you can, because it won't last.

0) See those blue areas on the map? They were the Athletes Village, and they're already flats.
1) See that large building site beside the Velodrome? That's Chobham Manor, the next residential area to be built, which'll include houses and lots of flats.
2) See that long strip of featureless lawn along the west side of the North Park? All that's going to be flats.
3) See that empty gap between the Copper Box and the Media Centre? That's Eastwick, and that's going to be flats (alongside a new sports field for Gainsborough School across the river).
4) See that large building site between White Post Lane and the stadium. That's Sweetwater, and that's going to be flats.
5) See that vast empty space beyond the Greenway that used to be the 2012 warm-up track? That's surely going to be flats.
6) See most of the Crossrail building site around Pudding Mill Lane station? That's going to be flats, obviously.
7) See that huge green lawn immediately to the south of the Orbit? That's going to be flats, not a picnic spot, eventually.
8) See those two empty plots in front of the Aquatics Centre? They're both going to be flats.
9) See that long strip of land between John Lewis and the South Park, where the Water Polo arena used to be? That was going to be flats, but the Mayor would prefer it to be a university and a new outpost of the V&A.
10) See that small plot between the Aquatics Centre and Westfield. That's going to be Glasshouse Gardens, aka highrise flats.
11) See that large area of land opposite John Lewis? That's going to be The International Quarter, a huge area of highrise offices attempting to create "a new metropolitan business district".
12) See that long thin strip of land to the east of Stratford International station? That's going to be the other part of The International Quarter, with yet more offices and flats, including the 42 storey Manhattan Loft Gardens.
13) See that hideous tall block near Westfield that's gone up since the Olympics. That's a warren of student flats, and I hope it's not architecturally indicative of what's about to be erected elsewhere.
2020) See that broad skyline and vista across East London? No, because it's mostly flats.

And yes, of course most of the area around the edge of the Olympic Park was always going to be flats. It's how the redevelopment of the Lower Lea Valley got the green light in the first place, and a significant contributory factor to the legacy budget. This is also a major boost to London's chronic housing shortage, and a sensible way to exploit the excellent infrastructure put in place for the Games. It is perhaps less good that the number of flats has been cut by 15% to cram in more commercial activity, and most definitely less good that the proportion of affordable housing in the park will be reduced even further in the process. Everybody wants to feed at the Olympic trough, taking advantage of a one-off mega-investment in the future of our city. And the future of our city is blocks of flats.

Best come down and enjoy the unblocked view while you can.

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