Yet it’s easy to forget that what many people talk of as the benefits of the 2012 Games – new rail links and roads, Westfield shopping centre and the rejuvenation of a brownfield site – was earmarked to happen anyway, as part of the Stratford City project.
The organisers’ rhetoric was it was an industrial wasteland where nobody really lived.
But that’s not true.
Dr Jonathan Gardner
“Most people thought we wouldn’t win the bid,” says Jonathan Kendall of Fletcher Priest architects, the designers of the athletes’ village, now known as East Village. “The benefit of bidding was to galvanise people to think about the area.” This is the genius sleight of hand of the project: the legacy was being implemented already. Fletcher Priest was already designing what became the village and the parkland around.
The ODA [later LLDC], she notes, were legally required to build a school and a health centre – but then went lukewarm. “The general tenor of the conversation was, ‘Will you let us off?’– they only did it because they couldn’t get out of it.”