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London Assembly member criticises Olympic Park reopening schedule

Labour London Assembly member John Biggs yesterday criticised last week’s announcement that it would take until Easter 2014 for the Olympic Park to fully reopenin legacy, saying that the “convenience of engineers” had been prioritised over the needs of local residents.

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has planned a phased reopening of the park that will begin at the North Park, which houses the Velopark among other structure, in July 2013. The South Park, which is home to the ArcelorMittal Orbit, Aquatics Centre and Stadium, will begin opening in Easter 2014.

Biggs said the “long delay” in opening the Olympic Park after the games was “simply unacceptable”.

“For most of my constituents, the opening of the Olympic Park will be the nearest they will get to being part of the games,” said Biggs. “I will be calling on the Mayor and his Development Corporation to review their decision as I am sure an incremental opening would be possible. It seems that the convenience of engineers counts more than my constituents”

An LLDC spokesman said that the intention had always been to open the park in phases “as we want to get people onto the Park as quickly as possible after the Games” (see box).

From the London Legacy Development Corporation

“The North part of the Park, including the Multi-Use Arena will be opened exactly one year after the Games with a large community event, closely followed by the Mayor’s two day festival of cycling in August 2013 – which will involve around 100,000 people visiting the Park,” a spokesman said.

“The remainder of the North Park will reopen by the end of 2013, this will include the VeloPark and the Lee Valley Tennis and Hockey Centres. By Easter 2014 parts of the North Park will have been open to the public for almost a year.

“We will then open the South Park including the Aquatics Centre and the ArcelorMittal Orbit with a grand opening event. Given the scale of the transformation works needed this is a challenging timetable but we are committed to getting people into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as soon as the building works are complete and it is safe for them to enjoy. We are also on track to reopen the Stadium as planned in August 2014, there are no delays to our planned Park reopening schedule.”

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