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Deal puts Stratford City back on track

A compromise has been reached between the London Development Agency (LDA) and the Stratford City Development Partnership (SCDP) over the 2012 Olympic Games site in east London.

The LDA had approved a far-reaching Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the 73ha Stratford City site - a decision that had 'shocked' and 'amazed' landowners London and Continental Railways (LCR), part of the SCDP ( see article here).

At one stage this row appeared to signal the death knell for Fletcher Priest and Arup Associates' massively ambitious scheme for the area.

However, the new deal will see LCR retain control over the 'commercial interests' on key parts of the site and the huge scheme now seems back on track.

Last week the LDA announced a CPO was the only way of safeguarding the delivery of the Olympics and, according to London Mayor Ken Livingstone, the move had 'averted a crisis'.

Following discussions, the LDA has decided to exclude a central zone - called Zone 1 - allowing LCR to develop an initial phase of housing, leisure and retail space. Negotiations are continuing with the landowners over other zones.

The compromise legally binds LCR to carry out work within a set time-frame, although no dates have yet been released.

It is hoped the new schedule will avoid disruption to the Games - no Olympic venues are in this zone, but essential access and infrastructure will be delivered by LCR.

In an apparent volte face, the chief executive officer of the LDA, Manny Lewis, now says that the agency 'has always been fully committed to both projects'.

Both the LDA and LCR say they view the agreement as a constructive step. 'This is excellent news,' says Livingstone, 'which gives us the certainty we need to stick to the timetable and deliver a landmark Games in 2012.'

The £4 billion Stratford City project will include over 4,500 new homes and huge amounts of commercial space, situated within and adjacent to the Olympic Park in the Lower Lea Valley.

By Will Hunter

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