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Olympic Park Legacy Company to wield unprecedented 'power'

Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) chief executive Andrew Altman told the AJ100 that once the Mayoral Development Corporation is formed in April 2012, they will have complete control over the future of the park and surrounding areas

Speaking at a meeting of the AJ100 Breakfast Club at Claridge’s in London, Altman announced that the OPLC – when it becomes the Mayoral Development Corporation next year – would operate as the Olympic Park’s land owner, developer, planning authority, infrastructure company and park manager.

In addition to the park, the Mayoral Development Corporation will also have control over parts of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney Wick.

‘No other western city has given a development corporation that much power’, he said.

Describing the OPLC’s work as ‘regeneration on steroids’, he said: ‘Here we have 10, 20, 30 year long-term planning that other cities have rarely done or gotten right. We’re actually ahead in terms of other host cities.’

As part of the Localism Act – which received Royal Assent last month – the OPLC will answer only to the mayor, ‘whoever that may be,’ added Altman.

He went on to claim next summer’s Olympic Games would change the ‘psychology’ and ‘social map’ of London, predicting more institutions would seek to invest in the East End area around Stratford.  

Citing University College London’s decision to appoint Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands to design a new campus next to the Olympic Park, he said: ‘That’s all because of the transport connections and the fact there is no land in central London. There’s going to be more and more institutions looking at that.’

In October, the OPLC submitted an outline planning application for its 64-hectare Legacy Communities Scheme masterplan aimed at creating 6,800 new homes over 20 years. The search for a development partner for the park’s first legacy phase, Chobham Manor, commenced last month.

Addressing senior representatives of the UK’s largest architectural companies, he promised more design competitions and opportunities for architects to get involved in the ambitious regeneration project.

‘There will be lots of opportunities, we want to get the highest quality and want to bring as much opportunity to the design and engineering communities as we can.’

Plans for the park include 40 per cent family housing and were designed by Allies and Morrison, Witherford Watson Mann, Maccreanor Lavington and Vogt Landscape Architects. The legacy company will retain the freehold of development plots as part of a bid to replicate a ‘great estates’ model of land management.

The AJ100 Breakfast Club is an event for executive staff from practices ranked in the AJ100, a survey of the largest architectural practices in the UK ranked by number of architects employed.

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