London on home straight to deliver Olympic Park legacy
With just 200 days to go to the beginning of the 2012 Games, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, announced today that hundreds of jobs and thousands of opportunities have been secured as global giant Balfour Beatty WorkPlace and London based Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) sign up to take on the running of key venues and facilities in the Queen Elizabeth Park after the 2012 Games.
These new contracts will create over 250 jobs, provide much-needed training and create new opportunities for small businesses, all targeted at local communities in east London. A further milestone in securing the regeneration legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games the capital is now, thanks to the work of the Olympic Park Legacy Company and the Mayor, on track to achieve what no previous host city has done by having long-term operators agreed for all the permanent venues before the Games have even begun.
Currently six of the eight venues have operators in place and the Legacy Company is on track to identify tenants for the Olympic Stadium and International Press and Broadcast Centre before the opening ceremony in July.
The Aquatics Centre and Handball Arena will be operated by GLL. With over 800,000 users anticipated each year, the Aquatics Centre will become a major community facility for use by local people after the Games and accessible to all, with average prices the same as other local pool facilities. It will also be London and the South East’s world-class swimming facility for use in international competition and for training by athletes. The Handball Arena will be a flexible multi-use facility in legacy and become the capital's third largest arena with the capacity to host concerts, shows, exhibitions, sports events and other events. It is expected to welcome up to 500,000 visitors a year. Overall, this contract will generate a surplus and provide a financial return to the Legacy Company.
Balfour Beatty WorkPlace will operate the magnificent 114 metre high ArcelorMittal Orbit, expected to attract up to a million visitors a year, as part of its contract for facilities and estate management across the Park, including maintenance of the park and visitor facilities.
Together, the contracts with both companies will create 254 jobs with new apprenticeship opportunities every year and both companies have committed to pay the London Living Wage as a minimum and to fill the majority of those jobs from local communities. They have also committed to appoint local small and medium sized businesses to provide the goods and services necessary to fulfil their contracts.
This fantastic achievement, more than six months before the Games, is a major boost to the Mayor and the Government's plans to deliver the most successful Games ever and is the perfect start to what will be a most extraordinary year in the history of capital and country.
Over the next 200 days and beyond the Mayor is co-ordinating an amazing programme of free events and celebrations that have been planned for London, on top of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Torch Relay and the world's greatest sporting event - the Olympic and Paralympic Games. There will be something for everyone, ranging from Chinese New Year and St Patrick’s Day to the London 2012 Festival and the capital’s own outdoor arts festival, culminating in a range of dazzling entertainment across the city to welcome the world and create a summer like no other.
The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP said:
"As we kick off 2012, the year of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee, this is the perfect time for the Cabinet to come together and ensure we are doing absolutely everything we can to make the most of this unique opportunity to showcase all the great things the UK has to offer to the rest of the world.
"As Ministers visit Olympic venues, businesses, schools and organisations associated with 2012 right across the UK, I want the message to go out loud and clear, from tourism to business, sport to investment, we are determined to maximise the benefits of 2012 for the whole country.
"Today, as we mark 200 days to go, and 6 out of the 8 Olympic venues having already secured their future, we are well on track to delivering a lasting legacy for the whole of Britain."
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:
"This a ringing endorsement of our 2012 legacy and regeneration plans for east London and an amazing achievement by the Legacy Company. To find operators to take over these world class facilities so far ahead of the Games and to secure their commitment to spread jobs and opportunities throughout the local communities is the icing on the 2012 cake.
"We can now start the run in to a fantastic year of celebration with huge pride and optimism that London will stage a great Games delivering lasting sustainable benefits long after the athletes have departed."
Margaret Ford, Chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said: “GLL and Balfour Beatty WorkPlace will play a key part in the creating a Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that is a thriving visitor destination with world class sporting venues that are both affordable and accessible to the public.
“The combination of Balfour Beatty WorkPlace’s commitment to jobs and apprenticeships and GLL’s innovative proposals for sports programming will create a host of economic and sporting opportunities.
“Today’s appointments are just another example of how London’s legacy plans are further ahead than any previous host Olympic City. By working closely with sporting bodies and our local communities now, we can ensure that these venues will have a full and compelling programme of activities for when they reopen after the Games.”
Notes to editors
The Mayor is hosting a huge programme of free events and celebrations to add to the excitement of 2012, including ones especially commissioned for a citywide programme of free events that will add to and complement the London 2012 Festival. They include SECRETS, with artists and performers transforming hidden and lesser known locations; SHOWTIME, an outdoor arts festival in high streets, parks and open spaces around the capital; and LONDON LIVE, bringing live action from the Games, as well as sporting activities and entertainment to Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square. News and information about the programme will appear on the new website www.molpresents.com, which will also feature events and happenings in the build up to A Summer Like No Other, including the St George's Day and St Patrick's Day celebrations, the Russian Maslenitsa festival and the Chinese New Year festivities.