Tom Russell, the head of London’s 2012 Olympic Legacy has parted company with the London Development Agency after just over a year in the post
Russell had led the Commonwealth Games regeneration of East Manchester prior to taking on the role in January 2008. During his tenure, Russell has been in charge of the development of the legacy masterplan for the Olympic site and the establishment of an urban regeneration company to take on the delivery of the legacy.
The official line from the LDA is that Russell resigned for personal reasons, although it is not clear whether he was pushed from his position.
It is understood that Russell questioned some of the ODA’s decisions, particularly the decision of an athletics legacy use for the stadium, which he said precluded the possibility of a football club as a legacy user, as was seen in Manchester.
An Olympic insider dismissed this particular point however. ‘I think this is quite surprising (Russell has left). The reality about the stadium is that the winning bid had to include a guarantee that the athletics track would remain so that this would become the new home for British athletics. Everyone has always known this, so I think the comparison with Manchester is a red herring. There have been some concerns about some of the details emerging in relation to the number of homes and disposition across the Olympic Park site, but nothing that would lead to any dismissals. So a bit of a mystery.’
The London Development Authority said the URC, which is to be chaired by Baroness Ford, would take over the legacy from May 1.