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London 2012 unveils Olympic park for 21st Century

Sustainable drainage will form a crucial part of the Olympic Park, the Olympic Delivery Authority revealed yesterday when it outlined its plans for a 21st century park that draws on centuries of British park design combined with ground-breaking green technology.

Olympic Delivery Authority project sponsor for parklands and public realm John Hopkins told NCE that this would be "a smart park that, in design terms, attempts to create a contemporary picturesque landscape."

Flood risk management was a key priority and the park is designed to store water which will add flood resilience to an area surrounded by 5,000 houses.

Sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) will be deployed in conjunction with a 30 HA of paved concourse. "Surface water run off is channelled through porous bands of asphalt to rain gardens and swales which both clean the water and create attractive habitats before the water is channelled back into the river (Lea)," said Hopkins.

The plans, unveiled yesterday, are being submitted to the Olympic Delivery Authority’s Olympic planning decision team as part of a detailed application and its planning committee is expected to make a decision on 24 February next year.

BAM Nutall is management contractor on the project which has a £200M budget. Design duties fell to LDA Design.Hargreaves Associates. It is envisaged that the transformation of former industrial land, much of it contaminated through years of industrial neglect, will create 100 HA of parklands that will provide a colourful setting and festival atmosphere for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.

Inspired by the Victorian and post-war pleasure and festival gardens, visitors to the park during the Games will enjoy broad sweeping lawns and footpaths leading down to riverbanks, ample seating and public spaces throughout the park with live screens showing the sporting action.

Olympic Delivery Authority chief executive David Higgins said: "We will be creating a brand new park, the first in London for many years. It will be a park for the 21st century, setting high standards which combine the best of British park heritage with sustainable living. It will be a fantastic backdrop for the Games and the heart of the new community in the area post-2012."

The Olympic Park will include:

• 3 km of restored and accessible previously neglected and inaccessible rivers

• Over 2000 large trees on the concourse and in woodland, including willows, poplars, planes, oaks and limes

• At least 250 species of plants will make up the London 2012 Gardens

• 5 frog ponds

• Almost 10 HA of species rich meadows and lawns;

• Over six hectares of woodlands, hedgerows and scrub

• 2.1 hectares of allotments in legacy

• Two hectares of reed beds

• Over 700 (nesting boxes and holes for birds and 150 (50 by 2012 and a further 100 post-Games) for bats

• New habitats for species including: otter; kingfisher; grey heron; bee; house sparrow; bat; song thrush; starling; toadflax brocade moth; lizard; black redstart; flower and fungus beetle; frogs, newts and toads; eel; water vole; slow worm; grass snake; linnet; sand martin; swift; invertebrates

• Two hectares of scrub and brownfield type land for wildlife previously living in the Olympic Park

• 102 hectares of open land in legacy, 45 hectares of habitats

• 130,000 spectators in the park per day at peak, 11,000 in the spectator lawns and hills

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