Forman & Field Managing Director Lance Forman says visitors to the London 2012 anniversary should see the real East End
- Credit: Carmen Valino - on shift
The countdown has begun. Only 17 days to the anniversary of the start of the London Olympics. And the question East Londoners should be asking is whether the Olympics really delivered for our part of town and what indeed is the future?
The creation of the Olympic Park left 250 businesses, employing some 12,000 people, displaced. The greatest concentration of manufacturing land in the whole of London destroyed for three weeks of sport. Was this a price worth paying?
The London Development Agency, who were responsible for assembling the land for the Olympics, did so in the name of ‘regeneration’, but they had no option. Their constitution would not have allowed them to acquire the land merely for an international sporting event, so it was claimed that the Olympics was not merely about the sport, it was about the regeneration of East London.
As far as the sport is concerned no one can question the enormous success last summer, not just of Team GB, but the operations and logistics management of London 2012.
But there is also much evidence that East Londoners lost out during the Games itself. One of the best ways to help regenerate an area is to bring people to it, ensure they have a positive experience, so they want to return.
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During the Games, visitors did not get to experience the real East London. They were transported into the Olympic Park, fed on McDonald’s and marshalled, very effectively, straight back onto trains, from whence they came.
The Olympic Park could have been on the moon inso far as it allowed visitors to enjoy London’s East End. Even the marathon was not allowed to take place along the streets of East London, ending in the main Olympic Stadium, as it does at every other Olympics.
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The Legacy opens a whole new opportunity. East London is unquestionably the up and coming fashionable part of our great city.
This is where overseas investment money is flowing in. Events at the Olympic Park this summer must encourage visitors to stay, explore and spend their money in this part of town.
That’s how real regeneration will take place and especially as East London hospitality is just about as good as it gets. Bring it on.