London Borough: Winners and losers of the Olympics regeneration game


A decade ago, London was preparing for the start of the 2012 Olympics. Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Nicola Adams and Bradley Wiggins were to become national heroes.

But the Olympics are never about sports.

The 2012 Games were the most ambitious and expensive attempt at regeneration through sport that the UK has ever attempted.

The original bid made a series of far-reaching promises, not least that it would deliver “the regeneration of an entire community for the direct benefit of everyone who lives there”.

So was this great vision successful?

A micro-property boom was predicted in the Olympic Borough with billions of pounds of investment. Overall house prices in inner London have risen by 137% since 2005. The only Olympic boroughs are Hackney, where prices have risen by around 174 per cent, and Waltham Forest, where prices have risen by 145.6 per cent.

In 2005, the year London won the bid to host the Games, Newham had the cheapest homes in the capital and the most deprived neighborhoods in the UK. Since then, house prices have risen by 109.5 per cent, from £193,600 to £405,600. The sports hub of Stratford saw an average rise of 116 per cent from £209,000 to £502,600.

Olympic Borough: Rising housing prices

Since 2005 when London won the bid to host the Games.

Barking and Dagenham: 109 per cent

Newham: 109.5 percent

Tower Hamlets: 111.5 percent

Greenwich: 117.2 percent

Waltham Forest: 145.6 percent

Hackney: 173.9 per cent

Source: Hamptons and ONS

Of course, skyrocketing house prices don’t necessarily mean London actually needs this kind of legacy. Affordable and well-designed homes for young people in neighborhoods that are functional and well-connected are more immediate concerns.

Target for homes

Sebastian Coe promised 30,000 to 40,000 new homes in and around the Olympic Park, most of which would be affordable and for nurses, teachers and other essential workers.

So far, about 1,180 new homes have been built in the park, about 39 percent of which are affordable and aimed at buyers and renters priced from Stratford, according to a spokesman for London Legacy Development Corporation. More are in the pipeline and in total around 6,000 new homes will be built within the park by 2032, around 40 per cent of which will be affordable. Once nearby new homes are built, the Olympics should provide 33,000 new homes by 2036.

However, the amount of affordable housing varies by development. In some sites, half are aimed at first-time buyers and young renters, in others almost none.


Jo Watson and Connor Taylor first moved to Stratford in 2016 but have since bought a house a few miles south in Plaistow.

/ Adrian Lowry

In 2016, Jo Watson, 29, and her husband, Connor Taylor, 26, joined a wave of people visiting Olympic Park that saw Stratford’s population grow by 42 percent to 73,000 since 2005, according to research. . Real estate company JLL. Many of these newcomers are young — about a third of Stratford residents are aged 25 to 34.

“I really love Stratford,” Watson says. There are some good places in the International Quarter London development, and more bars in the East Village.

But Watson, who works in sales and marketing for a management consultancy, and Taylor, a dance instructor with a studio in Hackneywick (adoredance.londonNote also two important failures.

Last year the couple was ready to buy a home, but found themselves well overpriced. “There are some new houses at Chobham Manor, but they are townhouses, they are still leasehold, and they cost more than £1 million,” says Watson.

Watson and Taylor’s solution was to move a few miles south to Plaistow, where their three-bedroom house is worth £425,000.

Another problem is the division that still exists between Olympic Park and “old” Stratford. “Forgot about it a bit,” said Joe. “You only have to go to Stratford Shopping Center and then compare it to Westfield across the road to realize how much history it has.”

Safety concerns

An even more serious failure is playing in the players’ village, which was converted into apartments. Sam Williams, 31, and his wife Harriet, 32, bought a 30 per cent share in a £390,000 two-bedroom flat in the East Village.

Three years later the accountants bought Triathlon Homes to become sole owners of the property, which as of 2017 was worth £455,000. But in 2019 when they were ready to sell, an exterior wall system fire review found their building was covered in potentially combustible cladding (since removed and replaced), as well as There were safety issues in the wooden balconies and fires between the flats.

Sam Williams in his flat in the East Village

/ Sam Williams

About 50 homes in Williams’ buildings and other locations in the development also have fire safety issues that have made them untenable and potentially dangerous. It is hoped that their building will be repaired by March 2024.

“If that happens, it will be a five-year wait,” Williams says. “That’s actually longer than the time it took to build the Olympic Village.”

On the map

Looking back on the project as a whole, Sophie Rosier, a director in Savills’ residential development team, believes Project Stratford’s biggest success has been putting it on the map.

As a knock-on effect, he said, there has also been major investment south of the Olympic Park, which runs along the River Lea to Canning Town.

On the other hand she feels that the whole way of building in Stratford – “big tower block, big green space, big tower block” – has become increasingly outdated. “I think we’ve learned a lot about master planning since the Olympics,” she says.

Olympic Legacy: A Triumph, or a Lost Opportunity?

New jobs

promise: More than 50,000 new jobs will be created in the Lower Lee Valley.

Reality: It turns out that LLDC appreciates job creation, including relocating existing employees to Stratford.

On this basis, with 5,500 jobs at Hare East, a massive 25,000 at IQL’s new offices, and thousands more at the East Bank (Stratford’s cultural quarter which is home to staff from University College London, London College, or will be) coming to Fashion, the BBC, Sadler’s Wells and the Victoria and Albert Museum) will meet this target.

According to Newham Council, unemployment in the borough is currently running at 6.9%, which is higher than the England average of 4.4%.

A sporting nation

Pledge: Leveraging games to encourage more people to participate in sports.

Reality: Our Olympians and Paralympians certainly treated the nation to a thrilling and inspiring summer of sports. Alistair and Jonny Brownlee in the triathlon, British cyclists dominate the velodrome, Jonny Peacock’s record-breaking sprint…

Sport England’s Active People survey was conducted between 2005 and 2016 to gauge how many Britons took part in sport. In October 2006, 34.6 percent of people participated in sports once a week. In October 2016, it had increased to 36.1 percent.

Economic collapse.

Pledge: That the cost of the Olympics will be recouped thanks to huge inward investment.

Reality: The cost of staging the Games rose to £11bn (not including post-event costs, such as converting the Olympic Stadium into a football ground).

However, a government report published in 2013 estimated that up to £41bn could be generated in return by boosting tourism, construction and trade.

The LLDC calculates that the World Athletics Championships in 2017 alone generated £107m, while two Major League Baseball matches in 2019 provided a further £47m.

Set against these gains are the losses that the taxpayer incurs. ArcelorMittal Orbit was always a strange idea, ticket sales have been disappointing, and it currently has £13m in debt.

The Olympic Stadium cost more than £486m to build, plus more than £323m to convert it for West Ham’s use. The club contributed around £15m to the work and pays £2.5m a year in rent. Most of the rest came from taxpayers. A year later an inquiry condemned the loss-making deal, which is still costing taxpayers around £10m a year.

New home

promise: Sebastian Coe promised 30 to 40,000 new homes in and around the Olympic Park, most of which would be affordable and for nurses, teachers and other essential workers.

Reality: So far, according to a spokesman for the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), around 1,180 new homes have been built in Olympic Park, about 39 per cent of which are affordable and aimed at buyers and renters. Price is from Stratford.

More are in the pipeline and in total around 6,000 new homes will be built within the Olympic Park by 2032, around 40 per cent of which will be affordable.

Once nearby new homes are built, the Olympics should provide 33,000 new homes by 2036.

The amount of affordable housing varies by development, however: some sites have half the homes aimed at first-time buyers and young renters, others almost none.

And with almost 34,000 households on Newham Council’s housing waiting list, the need for housing in the area is still dire.

house prices

promise: Olympic jump.

Reality: There was never an official commitment, but as Stratford’s redevelopment got under way, observers confidently predicted that multibillion-pound investment would spark a micro-property boom in the Olympic borough.

Indeed, the only Olympic boroughs to outperform the rest of inner London since 2004 are Hackney (which includes the western part of the Olympic Park), where prices have risen by around 174%, and Waltham Forest. Although his Games contributions were minimal – synchronized swimming and water polo anyone? – Its prices have increased by 145.6%.

The winners within the Olympic Borough, where prices have more than tripled, are E9 (Hackneywick, Homerton, and Victoria Park), with a staggering 202% increase, and E8 (Dalston and Hackneywick), Where prices have risen to 201. percent. But it must be said that these areas benefited more from the influx of shoppers from Islington and Shoreditch and the influx of gastropubs, art galleries and bars than they did from the sports themselves.