Mayor and Chancellor support developing Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

04 December 2013

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today welcomed the Chancellor George Osborne’s pledge in the National Infrastructure Plan to support the creation of a major new higher education and cultural district on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The ‘Olympicopolis’ project is destined to create ten thousand jobs and boost the UK economy by billions of pounds.

The Mayor and the Chancellor, together with the London Legacy Development Corporation, have agreed to work together on ambitious plans that would potentially see two world class institutions - University College London and Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) - build new sites adjacent to the Stratford waterfront, on land between the Stadium and Stratford station. It’s projected that the cumulative effect of these plans will generate an extra 10,000 jobs in the Park and an extra £5.2 billion of economic value from the area, contributing an additional £99m in tax revenue per year.

UCL’s initial plans, being developed in consultation with staff and partners, would involve the development of activities complementing their ongoing activities in Bloomsbury. These may include a new centre for culture and heritage, a design school, a new biotech hub and an educational technology centre, as well as a space for entrepreneurs.

The V&A’s plans would enable more of its permanent collection to be displayed, as well as providing a showcase for temporary and touring exhibitions in partnership with other leading international museums and galleries, and a centre for research and conservation.

The Mayor's vision for Olympicopolis takes its inspiration from the achievements of Prince Albert, who used the proceeds of the 1851 Great Exhibition to create ‘Albertopolis’ – the 86 acre site around Exhibition Road in South Kensington that is today considered one of the world’s pre-eminent scientific, educational, artistic and cultural hubs.

The Mayor’s aim is that UCL and V&A will form the pillars of a dynamic new hub for 21st century London, attracting further prestigious institutions and businesses to the site to foster collaboration and innovation. As well as creating new visitor attractions, it will seek to attract knowledge based industries to the Stratford site, linking to Tech City, iCITY and beyond.

In the coming weeks, the Government, UCL, V&A and the Mayor will work with all involved in this new partnership on detailed business cases and funding arrangements. Talks with a number of other world renowned institutions keen to explore tie-ins with both UCL and V&A will continue in the New Year.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “As our Olympic park re-opens, I want to raise our ambitions for this magnificent site to squeeze out every drop of potential. The idea behind Olympicopolis is simple and draws on the extraordinary foresight of our Victorian ancestors. We want to use Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a catalyst for the industries and technologies in which London now leads the world in order to create thousands of new jobs. In the clearest possible signal of intent I’m delighted the Chancellor has today added his support to our ambitious plans for growth. That support, added to the commitment from UCL and V&A - two of London's finest global institutions - to anchor the Olympicopolis development, is a massive step forward in its delivery.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said: "The fantastic regeneration the Olympic Games brought to some of the poorest parts of East London must be continued. This excellent project brings together new housing with a world class university and museum and has the real prospect of creating a new centre of culture and learning in London. I am behind it 100 per cent."

The Director of the V&A, Martin Roth, said: “East London is already a thriving centre for the creative industries and we are excited by the prospect of a V&A presence there. We look forward to working with UCL, LLDC and GLA to create a new cultural and educational hub for London.”

Professor Stephen Caddick, Vice-Provost for Enterprise and lead on the Olympic Park project at UCL, said: “Exploring the establishment of a major new presence on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is hugely exciting for UCL – East London has become a vibrant and dynamic place to live, work and start a business and we’re keen to do all we can to help accelerate the area’s growth and development by establishing a presence there.

“Investing in the Olympic Park has the potential to provide UCL with an unmatched opportunity to explore a whole new programme of activities – especially in areas involving collaboration with other organisations. We will be very actively exploring development of new partnerships with other universities, with business and industry and with cultural institutions and charities to establish East London as the global hotspot for enterprise, innovation, research and education. To those organisations who are interested in working with us, I say – get in touch.

“It is also vital that UCL’s presence is part of – and enriches – local communities in East London. As soon as we can we will be exploring options to work with the local community to offer cultural and business opportunities for residents, with the aim of improving quality of life and the economic prospects of the area for the long-term.”

The Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, Dennis Hone, said: “The future of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has taken a huge step forward. The V&A and UCL will not only create thousands of jobs they will also act as a catalyst in delivering huge economic benefits to the east end of London. We hope they will be the first of many grand organisations to come and make a home in this new heart of the city.”

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham said: “This is an exciting vision for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and further cements Newham’s investment in the Olympic Stadium as a lasting legacy for our residents, London and the nation. We are delighted at the prospect of working with the V&A and UCL on further unlocking the potential of Stratford and Newham. The educational and cultural potential of the project will inspire Newham’s young people to look at the wider opportunities available to them. As well as offering a huge number of jobs for local residents, it will also provide a significant boost to the local economy for years to come.”

A new educational and cultural quarter is the next ambitious phase in the continuing success story of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Since the Games all eight venues have their legacy use secured. The first new homes will start being built at Chobham Manor next year and the two neighbourhoods of East Wick and Sweetwater have recently gone to the market for a development partner, six years ahead of schedule.

 

Notes to editors

 

  • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be a place unlike any other in London, offering the best in sporting and cultural amenities in world class venues and parks, and at the same time creating places to live and work that are rooted in the ethos and fabric of east London’s diverse and vital communities. The north of the Park is already open for people to enjoy and the south of the Park will be reopening from spring 2014. For more information visit www.QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk
  • The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) promotes and delivers physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area, in particular by maximising the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • In the National Infrastructure Plan published this morning by the Government support for the Olympicopolis project was outlined on as follows: “supporting the London Legacy Development Corporation and Mayor of London in developing their plans for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; this aims to consolidate the success of the Games in order to maximise the economic and social benefits from the Olympic legacy, including plans for a new higher education and cultural quarter on the Park, in partnership with University College London and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
  • The Chancellor is expected to confirm the Government’s support for the project in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement to the House of Commons from 1115am.