London's Olympic Park risks becoming a white elephant if budget pressures force designers to cut corners, one London politician warned this week.
London Assembly Green Party member Darren Johnson said that he feared the government might follow Athens' example in responding to cost overruns on London 2012, stripping out vital community-linked legacy projects.'In Athens the focus was just on getting the stadium built and plans to match the post-Olympic infrastructure to the local community failed to materialise,' said Johnson. 'While there were grand plans in the bid documents for a legacy for east London and the environment, my concern is that when costs start to spiral these plans will get jettisoned.' However, an Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) spokesman this week rejected his fears. 'This is a regeneration project with a Games overlay. There is no way we would forsake [regeneration] to cut costs, because it is central to what we are doing.'Concern that the government had hugely underestimated the cost of building the Olympic Park were raised by former ODA chairman Jack Lemley last week. He claimed that he quit the project because of local politics and the spiralling cost of the project, which was originally budgeted at a capital cost of £2.4bn at 2004 prices but could now top £5bn.