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Legacy

A legacy of 'no clemency, no kindness'

It's just another very small, very local Olympics legacy story about an Olympic bridge, a second Olympic bridge, across the Hackney Cut canal. The other, the first bridge crossed the canal from the Gainsborough Primary School in Hackney Wick and was used by school children to get to their playing fields at Arena Fields on the east side of the canal. That is it was until the ODA built over the playing fields and demolished the bridge. The plan was to build a new bridge which would rob residents of Wick Village, already suffering from the loss of the green space opposite their estate and the monstrous Media Centre erected in its place, of their canalside open space. That argument continues.

A little further south another Olympic bridge, the second bridge, impinges on another local community, the Eton Mission Rowing Club. The Club had already lost land to the Olympic Compulsory Purchase Order, for the construction of the bridge to allow access to the Olympic Park, making it harder to carry on its activities. Now the LLDC plans to make life even more difficult with plans to construct a lift next to the bridge, taking even more land belonging to the Club.

The Rowing Club has suffered rowing blight since 2005 with new rowers reluctant to join as a result of the uncertainty created by the threat of compulsory purchase and the loss of space to carry on its activities. Now, after one hundred and twenty-eight years of existence Eye on the Park recently reported the Club is warning it faces extinction at the present site if these latest plans are adopted.

"If they shorten the space we have to work in even more," Club secretary Tim Hinchliff said, "we’d be a club that couldn’t store and maintain an eight, and take it to regattas. Well that’s not a rowing club is it? They either have to change what they are doing with that bridge, or they have to move us somewhere else."


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The Olympic stadium - it's all Crystal clear

While they are trying to figure out what to do with their East London white elephant in Stratford the LLDC has 'ambitious' plans to get its hands on the summer athletics grand prix, usually held at that other place in South London, er Crystal Palace? So that's a two for the price of one legacy of white elephants then?


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What? Now it's 'the largest new urban park for a century' - in the world?

The lie of the 'Largest new park in Europe' has now become so well established that the Press regularly restates it and other Legacy myths even when the Olympic authorities don't use the term. Both the Evening Standard and the Huffington PostUK have informed their readers that the Olympic Park will be the 'largest new urban park for a century'. No attempt is made by these publications to distinguish between the different definitions of the Park, the Olympic Park as a whole, which includes the housing, stadiums and other facilities, and the park or green space. It is the latter space that the ODA and others have successfully sold as this illusory 'Largest new park in Europe' not the Olympic Park as a whole to which these journalists refer. Now the journalists just call it 'the largest new urban park for a century' - what, in the whole world?


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Oh! What a lovely legacy!

London 2012 gets another award! In December the Estates Gazette presented the London Legacy Development Corporation with its Outstanding Contribution to Property award to celebrate 'the outstanding progress London has made in securing a lasting legacy'. Outstanding progress? We can’t even get into the Park!


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Celebration Capitalism!

The Guardian led the way recently with its poll claiming almost 80% of respondents thought the Olympics had cheered Britain up. Hardly surprising considering the constant repetition in the media of the wonders of the Games. In the summer at the height of the medal winning frenzy the Guardian’s poll at the time only found 55% thought the Games worthwhile. When considering whether the Olympics were worth the money the Grauniad relied on the Government’s faulty £9 billion price tag rather than the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee’s £11 billion or Sky Sports’ more radical up to £24 billion total. However, in other respects the poll had less comfort to offer. 61% considered Britain’s status in the world had diminished in 2012 while 51% thought Britain will still be stuck in a slump at the end of 2013.


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Lies and ignorance about the legacy - it's not academic

No wonder people get confused about Stratford City, the Athletes’ Village, the Olympic Park and the Legacy. Earlier in the autumn we had the fiction from the Centre for Economic and Business Research of the 'highly rated' E20 postcode's Chobham Academy even though it hadn't yet opened. Recently the Academy opened its doors to children who wanted to apply. The Evening Standard told us the Chobham Academy is an Olympic Legacy, forgetting to mention that it's the community school described in the West Leyton part of the Stratford City project, created under a separate non-Olympic planning application and not an Olympic legacy. Another commentator, the recently launched London Olympic Park Watch, which describes itself as an 'independent...constructively critical observer', says the school is 'in the Olympic Park' which of course it isn't. Stratford City, where the Academy, like the Athletes’ Village, is situated, is not in the Olympic Park but on the Stratford Rail Lands, the large piece of land which includes the Westfield Shopping Centre.


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East v West, the battle goes on

So the little guy hasn't given up after all. Barry Hearn says Leyton Orient plan to fight on to prevent West Ham taking over the Olympic stadium.


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Democratic deficit

The principal legacy of the Olympics, apart from the endless lying, seems to be they just stop people thinking. Now John Armitt has said infrastructure projects should follow the example of the Olympics - they should get cross party support and politicians shouldn't interfere! It should just be down to a quango to decide on projects like building nuclear power stations or new runways. So don't ask questions and just dish out the dosh to the corporations.


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