diamond geezer

 Thursday, April 17, 2008

London 2012Don't miss your opportunity
to see the latest designs for
the Olympic Stadium

The Olympic Torch may have bypassed Bow last week, but the Olympic Delivery Authority dropped in last night for a proper session with the local community. The ODA have nearly finished preparing detailed plans for the Olympic Stadium, and they wanted to see what we thought. So they turned up in a local school hall with the architect, set out a few chairs and waited to see who'd turn up. And a few of us did. Maybe if they'd mentioned there was free tea and biscuits, there'd have been more than 20.

The full consultation roadshow came to town. A posh white lectern labelled "engage", a big video screen, lots of microphones, and a headphoned bloke in charge of cables. All of the panellists wore their vivid 2012 logo lapel badges, and the first speaker's Powerpoint notes looked like they'd emptied the ODA's inkjet printer of every colour except black. The ethnic diversity of the E3 postcode was well represented across the ODA staff present, but alas not amongst the audience which was conspicuously white. There's a lot more reaching out to the local community still to be done.

hoardings in Barbers RoadWe were treated first to an update on the state of the Olympic Park. I was already well aware how far advanced the preparations were, having been up on the Greenway bridge taking my monthly photo less than two hours earlier. More than 75% of the entire park has already been demolished, and the stadium site itself now resembles a flattened earth bowl dotted with the occasional digger. We were told how thousands of native fish, insects and amphibians have already been "translocated", in readiness for their offspring to return to refreshed waterways once the legacy phase kicks in. And as for the 52 pylons currently scattered across the site, they'll be coming down later this year and all the cables threaded underground.

Deep breath. Time for the first Questions and Answers session. It was soon clear that the audience had all of the questions, and the panellists had few of the answers. Why is the Greenway still uncomfortably unsafe after dark, and did anyone try liaising with the Lea Rivers Trust before they folded, and will anyone force London Cement to stop belching dust when the Olympics comes? Dunno. In their defence, the ODA staff did politely offer to go away and find out everything they didn't know and forward the details, but this wasn't good enough for one member of the audience who promptly stormed out, noisily. As the evening continued it became apparent that our audience was sprinkled with local residents who might best be described as gauche argumentative nutters. But thankfully not too many of them.

And then the main event - a presentation from one of the architects who helped to design the new Olympic Stadium. We got to see all the promotional photos and videos that the London 2012 team released last November, but we were also treated to some rather finer detail about how the place will actually operate. The stadium looks suspiciously like a giant bowl of trifle, ladled full of custard churned round with hundreds and thousands. It's been cunningly designed so that the top tier can be removed after the Paralympics, reducing seating capacity from 80000 to a more sustainable 25000. Only after the Games will all the spectators be roofed in - during 2012 only two-thirds of the seats will have the luxury of a rain/sun shade. It's "best value", apparently, and it's all about "embracing the temporary". Even the toilets will be housed inside big metal containers which can be carted off and used elsewhere afterwards.

Olympic Stadium site - April 2008The stadium will take full advantage of the natural slope of the land by having two very distinct ground levels. All the service roads and the arena floor will be tucked away down at towpath level, approached from the south and west, while all the spectators will wander around 6m higher up at podium level, approached from the north and east. The architects have also taken full advantage of the stadium's "island" setting (two sides river, one side sewer). Once spectators have made it over the footbridges and onto the "podium island", they'll be free to wander in and out of the stadium or around the surrounding plazas where all the food and services will be based. Please, begged our audience, please make as much of the food as possible locally sourced and not that heart-stopping fat-dripping multinational burger crap. Only time will tell whether or not our voice is heard.

Many topics were raised during the final Q&A session, often of only tangential relevance to the stadium itself. The architect was unable to confirm security arrangements, although he did say that the entire stadium and surrounding island would be capable of being cleared in 8 minutes flat. He was also unable to confirm precisely how many bridges might be built connecting the Olympic Park to Bow. Residents remained keen for access to be as great as possible, not least because we'd rather like the 9000 workers on site over the next few years to come and spend money in our cafes and shops. The ODA spokeswoman assured us that there'll be another consultation later in the year to discuss proposals for the "public realm", including access points and legacy parkland, and I suspect many of us will be back for that.

Meanwhile, back on the Olympic Stadium site, the initial piling starts this week. Foundations and earthworks will be next, and by the time those are complete it's hoped that planning permission for the rest of the stadium will have been granted. All being well we'll have a big bowl of Olympic trifle on our doorstep as early as February 2011, completed ready for test events to take place a whole year before the Games begin. And don't worry, because we local residents hope to be popping back to be consulted at regular intervals between now and then, and we'll try to ensure that your money is being well spent. I have to say, it looks like it so far.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream