Sir Robin Wales criticises ‘urban desert’ comments

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales defended pre-regeneration Newham after an Olympics boss said the area used to be an “urban desert”.

Stephen Frost, head of inclusion at London 2012, said the Olympic Park site used to be home to “burned out cars and wildcats” but the Games had transformed it into a “thriving community with affordable housing, lifetime homes, medical centres and new hospitals as well as venues built for legacy”.

Sir Robin, who sits on the boards of London 2012 and the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “I think it’s a bit of an exaggeration. There were some very good businesses growing, but the Olympics has helped us move forward quicker.

“To suggest it’s anything other than a dynamic place now would be wrong. The Olympics went there because there are 10 rail lines, which the council fought for years to put in place. We have had a dramatic transformation of our community.”

The comments were made while Mr Frost was addressing a conference in Toronto, Canada.


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