The London Olympics seems like a dim and distant memory for most of us, but for those in charge of the redevelopment of the Olympic Park in Stratford, London, the enormous job is only just beginning.
Seb Coe and the London Organising Committee (LOCOG) built their bid for the London Olympics on a promise of building a lasting legacy for London and in particular the Stratford area. One of the first key challenges for the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) is therefore now to attract businesses to the area to take over the occupancy of the buildings within the park.
One of the most successful elements of London 2012 was the public transport system operated during the games; for the first time, many Londoners realised how well connected Stratford is to the rest of the capital. As well as an enormous new bus station, Stratford is served by: two of the main tube lines; the DLR; the Overground; and also National Rail services. This is something that the Legacy Committee is sure to drive home to prospective business tenants.
The impressive transport links are not the only benefit in businesses considering a move Eastwards; the Mayor of London’s ‘Super Connected City Plan’ is another key attraction. The plan focuses on East London and the introduction of ‘affordable ultrafast fibre broadband connectivity to 100% of SMEs, businesses and residents from Shoreditch expanding east towards the Olympic Park and then South to Canning Town’ (GLA, London Super Connected City Plan).
Transport, the advanced broadband facilities and the close proximity to Shoreditch’s ‘Tech City’ all indicate that many of the new companies setting up home in the area are expected to be IT, digital and technology companies creating more employment and IT jobs in London.
Gavin Poole is chief executive of iCITY, the company selected by the LLDC for the legacy use of the Press and Broadcast Centres on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. He firmly believes that the site has the potential to generate jobs and promote innovation in the Stratford area:
"The press and broadcast centre is one of the most digitally connected buildings in the world, providing an almost unlimited bandwidth connectivity. With the flourishing digital and creative industries sector just up the road, iCITY will extend the thriving technology cluster in east London onto the Olympic Park, creating over 6,500 jobs in the local communities and adding £460million to the national economy," he said.
The Olympic sponsors are involved in ensuring that a legacy of prosperity is brought to the area. The IT sponsor, Cisco, is involved in ensuring an IT workforce is created in the Olympic Park. As part of a five-year "Building a brilliant future" plan that started with London 2012, Cisco has increased the number of its networking academies with a view to improving technology education.
Neil Crockett, Managing Director of Public Sector, Cisco UK & Ireland, said: "We’re providing skills and an environment in which hi-tech entrepreneurship can thrive and will help the economy."
The idea behind this idea is that local students will be exposed to technology at a young age, giving them the experience and necessary skills to work and thrive in the IT sector.
It looks like the golden glow that surrounded Stratford during July and August is set to continue for a long time into the future and, in turn, potentially encourage the UK to produce some of the brightest future technology entrepreneurs.
Posted by: Matt