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Back to the Past - OPLC wants Housing Legacy for the Middle Classes

Legacy housing to meet the desperate housing shortage facing the better off appears to be the grand design of the OPLC. Regeneration 'expert' Lady Ford considers back to basics neo-Georgian and Regency housing on a grander scale is what is needed: "London is crying out for decent-quality family housing both to rent and to buy and, given the assets here, this is destined to be a park for London families. I think this masterplan has a much sharper focus and reflects the best of London."

The media with its minus 5 minutes' attention span is falling over itself in its enthusiasm for the plan to benefit, hmm, East Londoners. Not so long ago the Greater London Assembly was warning against the Olympic Park becoming 'an island of prosperity'. No details are provided as to how much of this new OPLC housing will be 'affordable' or 'social' housing, but bigger houses are likely to end up in the hands of better off people.

In property value terms less is more, provided less is larger, and the number of homes proposed for the OPLC Legacy keeps falling, down from 10,000 to 8.000. The top value sites are next to canals and rivers and the 'not the largest new park in Europe for 150 years'. The imperative of selling these off to property developers at the highest possible price to recover costs is the driving force behind this return to traditional housing values.

In his days as Olympic supremo Ken Livingstone couldn't disguise his enthusiasm for the profits to be made from Olympic property development. Interestingly the OPLC is following Ken's predictions of a £2billion return on property sales. Others have disagreed with this optimistic forecast.

The OPLC, along with just about everybody else, is resolutely ignoring the problem of contamination which threatens even this Legacy for the wealthy. Not only are property developers likely to be faced with further clean up costs but plans for putting gardens on Olympic land may prove impossible on what remains a brownfield site.

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