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Olympic debt and land deal gives momentum to legacy

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OLYMPICS-LONDON/VENUES

The government has signed off a multi-million pound debt and land deal with the Mayor of London, which could have endangered parts of the 2012 Olympic legacy and threatened to turn it into an unseemly Conservative spat.

Margaret Ford, chairman of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) responsible for managing the Olympic Park post-Games, had used every possible opportunity to flag up the debt issue ever since the Conservative-led coalition government said it was to review the previous Labour government’s deal.

The Treasury had agreed in March to pay 438 million pounds after much to-ing and fro-ing between central government and Boris Johnson’s office.

But the coalition, which has made reining in  a record peacetime budget deficit its top priority, said it would look at the deal. It has also told Olympic organisers responsible for the Olympic build to find 27 million pounds of savings.

London 2012 finds a personality

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main stadium

main stadium

I went to the London 2012 Olympic Park on Monday, and was impressed.

With three years still to go, I really got a feel for the “compactness and intimacy” organisers had promised when cynics last summer had asked “How can you possibly follow Beijing?’

That extravaganza had seemed impossible to compete with. Remember the Cube and the Birds Nest?

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