Written evidence submitted by the London
Borough of Newham
The scale of regeneration in Newham as
a whole is tremendous, and represents a one off opportunity to
change the prospects of East London and the life chances of our
residents. We welcome the investment that has come to
the borough through the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the
commitment from both the Government and the London Mayor to transform
East London as a priority. London's bid for 2012 was unprecedented;
the first to focus on legacy as a central theme and the first
to link legacy to existing resident communities. It will
be hugely disappointing if this aspiration were to be obscured
by current financial circumstances or through poor and complex
planning processes. We have serious concerns that the likelihood
of legacythe basis upon which the Olympic bid was wonis
diminishing, and that in the current economic climate we are in
danger of losing sight of the original vision: the transformation
of East London through social and physical regeneration.
Previous experiences tell us that legacy
does not follow Olympic investment as an inevitable consequence.
Commitment to legacy requires incorporating it as a central tenet
within all Games planning, and within the "hearts and minds"
of all agencies responsible for delivering 2012.
The outcomes we aim to achieve from the
Games, ownership of delivery, and measurement of the success of
those outcomes, must be agreed by all parties as a matter of urgency.
It is imperative that there is an alignment of the local, regional
and national planning process and cross-institutional consensus
on legacy objectives.
The host boroughs are in this for the
long-term: well after the athletes have left, we will be continuing
the attempt to harness the potential of the Games for local residents.
There is a compelling argument that the five host boroughs are
best placed to shape the delivery of legacy, and should be better
empowered to do so.
1. Regeneration in Newham and "Convergence"
1.1 The scale of regeneration proposed in
Newham is a tremendous opportunity, but it is crucial that we
shape it so that it benefits local residents. There are numerous
examples of major regeneration schemes which have failed to deliver
benefits to the communities immediately on their doorsteps. Regeneration
in Newham is not limited to the Olympics, despite its high profile.
We also have the development of Stratford City, the transformation
of Canning Town, Custom House and the regeneration of the Royal
Docks. Growth areas within Newham have the potential to provide
over 30,000 new homes and 75,000 new jobs to meet London's housing
and employment needs. We need to ensure that the Olympic development
integrates with our planning for these other projects in order
to deliver a real and lasting legacy for the area as a whole.
1.2 It is crucial to define what we mean by "legacy",
a term which is freely used in relation to 2012 but which requires
clarification of objectives and a clear delivery plan with timescales.
For the five host boroughs, legacy means achieving convergence;
that is, closing the gap between East London and the rest of the
capital in terms of quality of life for our residents within the
next 20 years. Yet different stakeholders have different perceptions
and expectations of legacy, and it is vital that we reach unified
agreement on our long-term objectives.
1.3 In our view, a lasting legacy would
mean the creation of sustainable, mixed housing and communities,
jobs for local peopleparticularly significant for Newham
given its high worklessness and levels of long-term unemployment.
It would mean a self sustaining and prosperous East London, a
better quality of life for residents, and fair access to opportunities.
The five host boroughs have committed to achieving Convergence
by 2030, through the Strategic Regeneration Framework.
1.4 Yet this is not a purely local agenda.
Our vision is for East London to become a net economic contributor
to the UK, creating self-sufficiency for the area economically,
and moving towards independence from the redistributive system.
This economic self-sufficiency will also have knock-on benefits
for our residents, tackling ingrained poverty in the area and
reducing benefits dependency. A 2012 legacy should have this objective
at its centre, and convergence should be embedded in all aspects
1.5 We welcome the establishment of the
new Olympic Park Legacy Company as a significant step in the delivery
of legacy and the Games. The new master planning process must
dovetail neatly with the wider masterplanning underway for Stratford
and the rest of East Londonit is essential that all agencies
involved align investment in order to meet shared objectives.
1.6 To achieve convergence we need to harness
the Olympics as part of the wider regeneration taking place to
ensure that there is not a "cliff edge" around the park.
The vision for the parkland must be integrated with the rest of
the borough, both to maximise the legacy potential of the Games
and to ensure that residents feel included in what is happening
on their doorsteps.
2.1 Newham in particular suffers from the
"barrier" effect of the Lea Valley. Although it is well
connected by various modes of public transport and by major roads,
there is a strong perception that the River Lea, together with
major north-south Underground lines, the M11 Link Road (in Tower
Hamlets) and large areas of industrial land, make Newham inaccessible.
This is a problem that can only be addressed by forging more street
connections and encouraging high quality development and urban
design along the Lea Valley. The Olympic Park development plays
a key role here.
2.2 It will be crucial to secure the transport
infrastructure package to support both the delivery of the Games
themselves, and legacy. This includes Crossrail, Eurostar stopping
at Stratford International, the DLR extension and the Thames Gateway
Bridgeall of which will create jobs, give people easy access
in and out of the East End, attract investment and encourage growth.
2.3 The area also requires finer grain connectivity.
It is essential that access to the Olympic Park is improved after
the Games are over, that the promised bridges are built and that
the current series of fairly weak entry routes are strengthened
and genuinely connect the existing local communities to the newly
arriving communities that will take up residence as the Park develops.
3. Tackling worklessness
3.1 Newham has been working to support local
people to take advantage of jobs coming in through the Olympic
and Paralympic Games; with up-skilling and with intensive support
linked directly to our employer partners, who include John Lewis,
Bovis Lend Lease and Westfield. Our employment service, Workplace,
was developed to ensure that local people benefited from regeneration
in the area. We realised that traditional targeted employment
services based on single need were not reaching key groups of
residents, who had multiple and complex barriers to work. Since
it was set up in 2007, Workplace has helped over 2,000 people
3.2 Similarly, our Mayor's Employment Project
offers a personal guarantee from our elected Mayor, Sir Robin
Wales, that if you live in Newham you will not be worse off in
work than on benefits. The scheme is targeted at the workless
and long term unemployed (three years plus). So far no-one has
been financially worse off in work, but we have learnt that people
need the intensive support offered by the project to be able to
negotiate a complex system and claim what they are owed in tax
credits. We would like to see the Olympic authorities show more
commitment to encouraging local people into the new jobs becoming
available in the area.
3.3 We have undertaken much work connecting
local people up with existing jobs. The new Stratford City Retail
Academy is a partnership between Newham and Westfield, the Learning
and Skills Council and the London Development Agency at the Stratford
Renaissance Partnership (SRP). It will train local people in retail,
leisure and hospitality, ensuring that they are in a position
to benefit from the 10,000 new jobs planned at Stratford City.
Our partnership with John Lewis has resulted in a commitment that
250 of the new jobs in their Westfield store will go to workless
residents in Newham, and we have similar partnerships with London
City Airport and Bovis Lend Lease on the Olympic site. Joining
up our residents with specific vacancies and with the economic
development coming into the borough is a priority for London Borough
3.4 Anecdotally, however, we know that 2012
contractors are starting to bring in existing personnel with them,
owing to the increasing impact of the recession. This cannot be
allowed to continue. London Borough of Newham has around 18,000
people of working age who have never had a job. It is absolutely
imperative that those people are supported into the new jobs being
created, and joined up with the economic opportunities which are
flowing into the borough.
4. The role of local authorities
4.1 As evidenced by Newham's success in
getting local residents into jobs, the host borough local authorities
are the experts in understanding the needs of their communities.
Yet the institutional architecture for decision-making around
2012 is very complex and far from local. There are further powers
that could be devolved to local authorities in order to ensure
that they are able to manage the vast changes happening in the
4.2 First, the repatriation of planning powers
to the boroughs for Thames Gateway Development Corporation area,
from the Olympic Delivery Authority and the Thames Gateway Development
Corporation, would have a significant impact. As long term legacy
guardians, the five host boroughs are keen to resume planning
powers and have a statutory joint committee already in place for
4.3 The five host boroughs should also have
greater control over nominations for social housing. With the
huge housing development planned in the borough, we have concerns
that a situation is being created which encourages other local
authorities in London to transfer social housing responsibility
to the East, rather than ensure the even distribution across the
capital of social housing responsibility. In Newham we are committed
to building more social and affordable housing and value it greatly.
However, we also face the challenges of supporting a uniformly
poor population. In boroughs like Newham where there is a high
concentration of deprivation and poverty, any pan-London mobility
scheme for social housing nominations could have the adverse effect
of intensifying deprivation in East London, as more housing is
built in the area and more tenants of other boroughs are moved
East to alleviate pressure on supply.
4.4 We believe it is of the utmost importance
that Newham, and other areas of high deprivation and worklessness,
should have social housing nominations largely ring-fenced to
existing local residents. This will enable us to shape mixed communities
by attracting new types of residents and tenures, without increasing
pressure to house more and more people who are often workless,
on very low incomes, or who present with high public service requirement.
At the very least, any pan-London mobility scheme should be premised
on only allowing people who are in work to move to Newham through
a regional transfer. This ensures that our existing residents
benefit from the Olympic and Paralympic investment.
4.5 The boroughs should have greater powers
over Olympic venues for community use after 2012. We have some
detailed concerns about the legacy use of the venues and the transition
arrangements outlined below; particularly the extent to which
the venues and even the Park itself will be accessible immediately
after the Games. This is vitally important to the success of the
Park and the place as a whole. We know there will be lag time;
for example, in retrofitting the Athlete's village with facilities
to make it habitable for longer term residents. However, the perception
that the Park will become another building site in the months
immediately after the Games endangers Legacy. There must be some
areas of the Park which are accessible and useable to the public
immediately after the closing ceremony, in order to encourage
a sense of continuity; and engender faith that something positive
has been achieved.
4.6 Our overall ambition is that each of
the venues has a viable community legacy use. In all, this means
facilities and a public realm that is designed and fit for purpose
for our residents, including:
Full borough involvement in the review
of the stadium in order to finally conclude on its legacy form,
involvement in the stadium legacy decisions, with support for
2018 bid and ultimately football use of the venue.
Re-opening discussions to help develop
commercial leisure and leisure water to make the aquatics centre
a more sustainable venue and more relevant to the local community.
Ensuring the 100 hectares of undeveloped
land has vibrant, innovative interim uses.
Improving the quality of transformation
of the parklands.
Ensuring that ODA transformation budgets
are clarified, and that the ODA is required to deliver the quality
of park and venues promised by the bid.
Accessibilityphysical access for
all residents, but also the management of the facilities being
operated in an inclusive, welcoming manner that reflects the diversity
and needs of our community.
Commitment to venue access, membership
and pricing being consistent with local venues and forming part
of the local facility infrastructure.
Test events which are accessible to the
local community, and part of an integrated pre-Games event programme.
An events plan for at least the first
decade of legacy that reflects the opportunity to showcase East
London, bring major sports and cultural events to the capital.
4.7 In Newham we believe that there is a
compelling rationale to create a new Royal Park for East London.
There are outstanding management issues with the parkland which
this would resolve, and it could also be used as part of the Queen's
Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. It would give East London
a park to rival the other Royal Parks in London, and provide a
high quality visitor attraction for decades after the athletes
have departed, as well as recouping public investment in the Games
through section 106 and attracting new residents and enterprise
to the area.
4.8 Imperative to a successful park after
the Games are the right management arrangements. The Royal Parks
Agency is the only viable management body to ensure an Olympic
and Paralympic legacy from the parklands, having consistently
demonstrated excellence in horticulture, ecology, sport and play,
heritage, public art, event management, education and community
engagement. Between 2005 and 2008 all eight Royal Parks secured
Green Flag status and every Royal Park enjoys customer satisfaction
ratings of at least 85%. This would also increase property values
around the Park post-Games, securing a return on public investment.
4.9 Only half a mile further south, on the
other side of Stratford High Street, the London Thames Gateway
Development Corporation is developing the "Lea River Park",
a series of linked public green spaces along the River Lea from
Three Mills Green in the north to East India Dock Basin at the
Thames. An exciting opportunity therefore exists to combine the
Olympic and Lea River Parks into a single, coherent park system
running from the A12 right down to the Thames, comprising perhaps
around 130 hectares in total once completed. A park of this scale
would have a higher profile, offer economies of scale in management
and maintenance and allow simpler, clearer engagement with local
communities and other stakeholders.
4.10 The parklands need a vital "big
idea"; strategic vision which will ensure that it does not
become a wasteland in the immediate post-Games time, and that
at least part of the park is open to residents, so that people
in Newham feel they have ownership over, and investment in, the
area. Key parts of the park will not be accessible under current
plans. The Olympic Park is a potent symbol of the Games, both
to local residents, and in the eyes of the watching international
media and public. It is absolutely essential that plans for the
park are clear and that the parklands can excite and inspire after
5. The Olympic Park Legacy Company
5.1 We are very supportive of the decision
to create the Olympic Park Legacy Company and are also keen to
review the Legacy Masterplan Framework (LMF).
5.2 Funding issues around the Olympic Park Legacy
Company (OPLC) are a key concern and the OPLC will be unable to
deliver key elements of the legacy vision without either further
funding or significant re-profiling of payments to the Lottery
and the London Development Agency under the Memorandum of Understanding.
Despite the great expertise and talent present within the leadership
of the OPLC, and its commitment to creating a lasting legacy,
it will not be possible for the Company to capitalise on this
great opportunity if it is saddled with debt from the outset.
We would urge that this be addressed as soon as possible, to remove
this obstacle to legacy planning.
Clarification on legacy objectives and
inter-agency consensus on delivery plan, based around Convergence
and aligned with the Strategic Regeneration Framework.
Secure necessary transport infrastructure; including Eurostar
stopping at Stratford, Crossrail, DLR extension and the Thames
Gateway Bridge, as well as access to Olympic Park itself.
Ensure economic development flowing into
the area is joined up with local residents, particularly in terms
Ensure housing development is balanced
and ring-fence social housing nominations to host boroughs.
Repatriate planning powers from Thames
Gateway Development Corporation and Olympic Delivery Authority
to the host boroughs.
Greater control for host boroughs over
Create a Royal Park for East London,
managed by the Royal Parks Agency.
Ensure a robust financial base for the
Olympic Park Legacy Company.