Legacy chief on progress in the Olympic Park Stratford

The ArcelorMittal Orbit at the Olympic Park.

The ArcelorMittal Orbit at the Olympic Park. - Credit: Archant

The milestone of 100 days until the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park reopens was marked last week.

Josephine Roberts looks at the views from the observatory deck at the ArcelolMittal Orbit tower in t

Josephine Roberts looks at the views from the observatory deck at the ArcelolMittal Orbit tower in the Olympic Park. - Credit: Archant

Dennis Hone is chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, which oversees the park, and he said at the ArcelorMittal Orbit in Stratford last Thursday that the £292million construction work is on track for reopening the North Park.

The section of the park, about the half the size of St James’s Park in central London, is due to reopen at the end of July in time for the annniversary of the start of last year’s London Games.

Work is currently under way to convert the Copper Box, where handball was played during the Games, into a multi-use arena, while the temporary basketball venue is being dismantled and relocated.

The North Park will also have a new cafe and community space with a £1million playground featuring trees with huts and water areas.

Major concerts such as Hard Rock Calling will see rockers Kasabian as the first act to play inside the Olympic Park this summer followed by Bruce Springsteen the next day.

Mr Hone said: “We will welcome thousands of visitors back to experience what this exciting new part of London has to offer – from international rock stars and world-class athletes to new parklands and outside spaces to walk, play and enjoy.

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“The work we are undertaking now will deliver a lasting legacy for decades to come and this summer is just the first part of that journey.”

Four temporary concert stages will also be built inside the park for this summer’s shows.

Mr Hone said chiefs are reviewing their plans for the next 10 years and will welcome ideas for how best to adapt the park to the surrounding population.

Executive director of the park’s infrastructure, Colin Naish, said the idea is to have concerts around the park until the Olympic Stadium has been converted.

He said: “That’s the general idea as more residents move into the park. But it depends on the demand and popularity of such events.”

The South Park is due to open in the summer of 2014.

The only part of the South Park which will not be open by then will be the Olympic Stadium, where work to transform it into a venue suitable both for football and concerts will continue into 2015.

West Ham United secured a deal to move to the stadium in 2016.

At the former Athletes’ Village, kitchens are now being fitted in the flats, which will become a mixture of mainly privately and socially rented homes known as East Village.

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