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Beyond Belief in the Olympic Zone

There is a credibility gap between what people in local voluntary bodies have been told by professionals in the Olympic industry and what local volunteers' experiences of outcomes has been. This has happened most to those local voluntary bodies which have been affected by relocations from sites within the boundaries of the Olympic Park.

Public consultation consists of a gaggle of professionals from the Olympic industry trying to communicate in a short time the bare bones of a mega-event plan on which hundreds of them have been working for months. They think that their plan will cleverly solve chronic problems of local underdevelopment and neglect which have taken decades to arrive at their present condition. Then they ask, “what do you think the problems are”. They listen politely but everybody realises that by that time it is too hard and too late to change anything significant.

More focussed consultations have taken place with local voluntary bodies affected by relocations from sites within the boundaries of the Olympic Park. Responses from them have been experienced by employees in this industry along a spectrum from indifference through positive engagement to hostility.

Members of groups like the cyclists of the Eastway Users Group, the Clays Lane residents, the Travellers, the Manor Gardens Allotments feel that:

  • Their expressed needs and positive suggestions were misunderstood and/or ignored.
  • Solutions were dictated to them which were hopelessly inappropriate.
  • Olympic development professionals were working to an inflexible agenda.
  • Agreed procedures for problem solving were not followed.
  • Agreed outcomes were not adequately delivered.
  • Locals were lied to about events which impacted on their well being.
  • Adequate attention from Olympic professionals to solving problems thrown up by the displacement process would often only emerge after locals had achieved national media coverage or a date for a court hearing

The experience of dealing with different professionals from agencies like the LDA repeatedly gives the impression of working with an entity which is in a great hurry and suffers chaotic project management.

Fortunately there is still a widespread desire among volunteers to engage in constructive dialogue with branches of this loose confederation of planning, design and administration professionals but our experiences to date have taught us not to hold out too much hope of mutually beneficial outcomes.

A more detailed version of this document is attached.

Legacy launch document 28 Feb 2008.pdf75.98 KB

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