Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

No White Elephants, Vows Olympics Chief

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

No White Elephants, Vows Olympics Chief

Article excerpt


THE MAN charged with staging the 2012 Olympics in London is determined to avoid building "bog-standard" facilities that end up as costly white elephants.

Paul Deighton was speaking after seeing at first hand Beijing's spectacular 91,000-seat main arena for the 2008 Games, and after learning key lessons from Sydney, which hosted the successful 2000 Olympics.

His comments came after Ken Livingstone and London organising committee chairman Sebastian Coe made public their different visions.

The Mayor said London "was not in the position of spending additional monies on iconic buildings" but Lord Coe said: "We wouldn't want a tin-shed Games on the edge of a city."

Today the Evening Standard can also reveal that further changes to London's Olympic park in Stratford will be announced this year. The alterations follow the decision in January to include the media centre within the park's inner area and avoid the compulsory purchase of 100 firms by "borrowing" a shopping centre car park for use by Olympics officials.

The further revisions, confirmed to the Standard by the Mayor, follow a detailed analysis of London's original blueprint and should reduce the [pounds sterling]3.6billion cost of staging the Games.

Meanwhile, Mr Deighton, who started work this month as the organising committee's chief executive, said he was determined-not to send designs back to the drawing board after construction work had started.

Rigorous planning would prevent building "bog-standard facilities" needing costly revisions later, and ensure each permanent venue had a defined use after the Games, he said. In his approach to the 2012 blueprint and his [pounds sterling]2 billion budget he made clear: . Private firms or organisations likely to base themselves in Olympics facilities post-2012 will be consulted from the outset. …

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