26 Jan 2013

Olympic Games site being transformed

12:03 pm on 26 January 2013

Olympic Park in east London is being turned into a new mini-city with sporting venues, housing and gardens.

Temporary facilities have been cleared. A hockey stadium has been demolished and only the external skins of the basketball and water polo arenas remain.

From May, the park will be opened in stages. A fence around the entire park will be torn down and buses will start running through the site on public roads.

This week the organisation developing the 2.5 square km park announced the British Athletics grand prix will be held in the main stadium in July.

Major music festivals will be held there this summer, too, instead of in Hyde Park.

London Legacy Development Corporation venues director Peter Tudor said the park will work better than other host sites post-Games because it was built for long-term use.

"It was actually adapted for the Olympics," he told AAP.

The transformation is scheduled to be completed by spring next year, at a cost of £400 million.

"There's no chance this will be like Athens," said LLDC chief executive Dennis Hone. "This won't be tumbleweed - it's going to be a vibrant new community and neighbourhood for London."

Residents will start moving into 2800 new homes at the athletes village from mid-2013. Kitchens are being installed because Olympic competitors ate in a communal dining hall.

Another 7000 new houses will be built elsewhere on the site over 20 years; 40% of them will be three-bedroom family homes. Some 35% of the new homes will be affordable housing.

"The park is going to be a place to come and play sport, watch sport, relax, work and live as well," Mr Tudor said.