Sofa so good? Developers and residents differ over Fish Island Olympic vision

A giant “living room” complete with a four-storey “sofa” and a 20 metre high “television” could be built in Tower Hamlets in the shadow of the Olympic stadium.

The startling vision is set to be used as a temporary hospitality venue in Fish Island for up to 8,000 people a day during the 2012 Games.

Developers say it could put “Fish Island on the map” but Michelle Gabriel, head of a nearby residents association has reacted angrily to the plans.

Last Thursday, the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LGTDC) granted approval in principle for the venue.

Catering company H Forman & Son are looking to build it next to their smoked salmon factory on the banks of the River Lea and will now submit a full application.


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Plans include a “living room floor”, raised six metres above the ground, which will house 5,500 square metres of hospitality space below.

A giant “sofa” would include further hospitality areas while a huge screen would be used to show Olympic events.

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The “TV cabinet” below could house a nightclub.

Lance Forman, owner of H Forman & Son, said: “We are in a privileged location and we feel as if to do something mundane and ordinary would be a waste of a wonderful spot.

“That is our vision, whether we can pull it off depends on whether we can convince some major sponsors to be part of it.”

But Mrs Gabriel, 44, who lives in the Ironworks residential block 50 metres away, said: “Anyone who comes to have a look realises how idiotic it is to have 8,000 people in such a small space.

“We are concerned that it’s planning permission by the back door because there will be huge pressure to build it.”

LGTDC has also approved plans for a nightclub for 3,750 people in Swan Wharf.

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