Olympic regeneration costs could soar

The cost of regenerating East London for the 2012 Olympics could more than double, with plans for housing expansion on contaminated and derelict land bringing the regeneration bill from £1bn up to a maximum of £3bn, it was reported this week.

The Olympic Delivery Authority has plans for up to 40,000 homes under expanded regeneration plans for the Olympic Park area in Stratford, the Times reported this week.

Olympic regeneration could provide a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to regenerate some of London’s most deprived areas, an ‘Olympic source’ told the paper a year exactly after London won the bid to host the 2012 games.

But the extra housing would come at a cost, driving up the bill from around £1bn to almost £3bn, on top of the money going on improvements to the capital’s transport infrastructure and the £1.5bn spent on putting on the games themselves.

David Higgins, chief executive of the ODA, has previously admitted that the job of decontaminating the site and cleaning up waterways could cost more than initially expected.

Previous experience shows that Olympics budgets have a tendency to overrun – the Athens 2004 games most recently consumed more than £7bn, far more than its initial budget, and left behind a number of under-used venues.

Goska Romanowicz

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