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Number of 2012 Athletes' Village homes cut back

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The number of homes within London’s Athletes’ Village – the largest single Olympic Park construction project – is to be cut back by a fifth in an effort to reduce costs.

Instead of the 4,200 homes initially proposed to house the 2012 Games’ 17,000 athletes and officials, the £2 billion scheme will be scaled back to 3,300 units.

The proposals, which were confirmed by Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) chief executive David Higgins at a public accounts committee on Monday, will affect the 11 mid-rise and two 30-storey residential schemes planned for the site.

In a joint statement, the ODA and the scheme’s contractor Lend Lease said that the proposal ‘would help reduce risk and some of the cost of the development while still meeting the International Olympic Committee’s Games-time requirements’.

They added: ‘The quality of the homes and other components of the Olympic Village remain paramount, with a panel of top architects leading the design’ (AJ online 21.05.08).

But Ken Shuttleworth of Make Architects, who with Ian Simpson Architects is designing the 30-storey towers, said: ‘The design may change if the brief is chopped.’ And Stuart Piercy of Piercy Connor, who is working with Glenn Howells and Niall McLaughlin on a 100-unit apartment block on the site, said the cut-backs were ‘a question of risk management’.

The news follows disclosures that the government may be forced to bail out Lend Lease, as the contractor cannot raise the finances for the project. It also comes days after Carillion and Igloo, the developers behind the media centre, revealed they were similarly struggling to
raise finances.

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