Solutions and legal battles loom at Olympic Park

Two weeks off from writing about the 2012 Olympics sites and the atmosphere has changed again.

In particular there has been a shift on two fronts. Firstly those close to the major projects have been lifted by the number of “solutions” that are coming forward.

The Wellcome Trust’s bid to create a major science complex at the Queen Elizabeth II Park, taking in the International Press and Broadcast Centre as well as the multi-use arena and aquatics centre, broken first at the FT in March, is the most ambitious example of a number of unexpected but welcome solutions being put to the Olympic Park Legacy Company and the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Even the problematic aquatics centre is getting some love and attention from Newham and Sir Robin Wales, while the ODA has been able to discard the approaches of a number of major investors as it shortlists three for the Olympic Village.

It’s perhaps no surprise that the atmosphere is turning nastier or at least more litigious.

There are whisperings that rival bidders for the park venues and the village are unhappy that Wellcome Trust has seemingly moved the goal posts by bidding for the lot. These mutterings are likely to get louder should the charitable foundation prove a successful suitor.

Elsewhere, Spurs are threatening to take on the OPLC  over its preference for West Ham at the Olympic Stadium, although I am still to understand exactly what the club’s grievance is other than pure sour grapes.  

And Leyton Orient continues to simmer over the entire stadium selection process, while across the road at Stratford City, Westfield and Aspers are facing the prospect of a judicial review of their selection as hosts for the UK’s first large casino.

The stakes are getting higher and unsurprisingly thwarted bidders are not prepared to give up without a fight. I am not a lawyer, but my addiction to legal dramas on television has convinced me that we are unlikely to see any of the decisions so far overturned. Perry Mason would struggle I think to persuade the jury that Tottenham has been snubbed in favour of West Ham, the club that actually is based in east London and is backed by the local authority.

Nevertheless, there is a danger that while interesting solutions are coming forward apace for the key sites, even the most solid decisions are likely to be held back by legal squabbles.


About Paul Norman's Olympics blog

News Editor of CoStar News, a commercial property news service. Regular blogger on the London 2012 Olympics and what it means for property and the the regeneration of East London
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