‘High Street 2012’ conservation project forges ahead despite Olympic Marathon snub

AFTER the refurbishment of historic buildings along the ‘High Street 2012’ Olympic corridor in Whitechapel, work has started on the second phase of a building conservation scheme, despite an announcement that the marathon route will no longer take in the East End.

Funded by Tower Hamlets council, English Heritage and the London Development Agency, this scheme will see fifteen Grade-II listed buildings at 82-124 Mile End Road restored to their former glory with a �700,000 investment.

The work had been intended to spruce up the main route to the Olympic stadium along Whitechapel High Street, Whitechapel Road, Mile End Road and Bow Road, which was originally intended to be the final leg of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic marathons.

The route will still be used as the main corridor for athletes and visitors to the Olympic Statium.

Tower Hamlets council’s corporate director of development and renewal Aman Dalvi said: “High Street 2012 is an important long-term regeneration project for the borough.

“I was taken aback by the visual impact that this project has had on the first block of completed buildings, and am looking forward to seeing the overall results of this scheme.

“I’d also like to reassure residents, that despite the recent revelation that the Olympic Marathon will no longer travel along the route, this will have no impact on the delivery High Street 2012.

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“This programme is, and always has been about improving areas for the communities that live there. London 2012 was a catalyst to helping us achieve this.”

It is expected that works, which began on September 27, will take six months to complete, and will include new timber shop fronts and signage, repairs to brickwork and pointing, new windows, and the reinstatement of lost architectural detailing. Throughout the refurbishment, all shops, businesses and restaurants will remain open as usual.

With Phase II now well underway, the third Historic Conservation Building scheme is scheduled to start towards the end of November in Bow, before the final and largest phase begins at Whitechapel Market in early 2011.