Colin Grainger

Legacy: Two more decades of commitment still to come



Picture: Colin Grainger

Securing the Olympic legacy remains a challenge for current and future generations in East London. Here’s the latest in a series of  special features examining the situation from a number of perspectives. 

Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe says the Council will continue to work closely with partners to “ensure our ambitions are met ” as we move into a crucial stage post Olympics.

Mr Pipe, said Hackney experienced an extraordinary year in 2012 with the Olympic and Paralympic Games bringing communities together to celebrate.

“ I’m very pleased that the Council was able to secure tickets for thousands of residents from youth and community groups, fulfilling our promise to make the Games accessible to local people.  And our cultural events, including the annual One Hackney Festival, saw more than 100,000 residents enjoying an incredible sense of pride.

“Making sure that as many residents as possible could get involved with and enjoy the Games was very important to the Council, but more important were the long-term benefits we could secure for our borough.”

He said: “With almost one third of the Olympic Park in Hackney, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to regenerate a large area of our borough, with thousands of new jobs, new homes, and improved parks, transport and community facilities.

“Several years before the Games even began, we had fulfilled one of our legacy promises by securing four new London Overground stations for Hackney, bringing a Tube-style service that makes it much quicker and easier to travel to, from and around our borough.

“The Games inspired many residents to take up new sports and activities and we are continuing to invest in our parks and leisure facilities so that local people of all ages and abilities can enjoy healthy lifestyles. Along with our funding partners, we have invested £18m into Hackney Marshes to provide better quality pitches for football, rugby and cricket and the new Hackney Marshes Centre with modern changing rooms, café and community rooms. The Council successfully fought for the Copper Box that hosted handball and goalball during the Games to be re-designed as a Multi Use Arena that will re-open to the public in July this year.”

The Mayor said: “Our borough’s biggest opportunity for a strong economic legacy from the Games is the former press and broadcast centres in Hackney Wick, which housed 20,000 journalists during the sporting action in 2012. Right from the outset, the Council has lobbied for these huge buildings to be transformed into a media, digital and creative hub, complementing the creative industries that already thrive in Hackney and creating jobs and opportunities for local people.

“We successfully secured a formal role in the selection process for the main tenant and were delighted with the result when iCity became the preferred bidder. In December 2012, our vision started to become a reality when iCity secured BT Sport to broadcast Premier League football from the site.

“The Council will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure our ambition is met. To run their operation, BT Sport alone will need 350 staff and, as the two centres are filled with other companies, there is the potential for up to 6,500 jobs to be created. We want to make sure local people can take advantage of the broad range of jobs this will bring, and we continue to work with local schools, colleges and training providers to ensure residents are able to acquire the skills needed to access these opportunities.

Mr Pipe was born and grew up in East London, and has lived in Hackney for 16 years.

In the 2008 New Year’s Honours List, he was awarded a CBE in recognition of his service to local government.

His passion for the area is obvious: He added: “The full transformation of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will take up to 20 years however, so still to come is another two decades of commitment and lobbying on behalf of our residents to secure the legacy Hackney deserves.”

This is the third of a number of features which appear in Your Docklands & City and Your Stratford City magazines,  published by Your Media London

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This article was written on 08 May 2013, and is filed under East London, Education, Employment, Hackney, Jobs, Jules Pipe, Legacy, London, Olympics & Paralympics.

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