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Olympic Park transformation well underway

The £292 million transformation of the Olympic Park was handed over to the Legacy Corporation today, as work continues on site.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games handed over control of the park, but the saga over who will take the Olympic Stadium continues.

The handover was marked by the removal of the final piece of the outer shell of the Aquatics Centre, where 17,500 seats have already been removed and deconstruction of the temporary seating stands on either side is underway.

The transformation programme has already seen big changes at the park.

Since the end of the Paralympics in September, LOCOG has removed most of the temporary materials used for the games and some of the larger structures including the Riverbank Arena, the BMX stands and the Olympic Stadium wrap.

But the future of the stadium remains uncertain as a permanent tenant has still not been named.

“The competition is ongoing so I can’t comment on the competition itself,” said Colin Naish, London Legacy Development Corporation executive director of infrastructure, at a press conference today.

“Once this announcement is made, we’ll then be in a position to start the transformation of the stadium.”

The future home of the basketball arena is also still unknown, although it is being removed entirely from the park.

Taylor Wimpey and London and Quadrant will build the park’s first neighbourhood, Chobham Manor, on the site, which will have around 850 homes.

The transformation programme, which will continue over the next 18 months, will see the Olympic Park become the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and many of the venues converted for public use.

The Legacy Corporation will reopen the park in phases, with the first scheduled for 27 July 2013, and the whole park to be reopened by spring 2014.

“We want the park to open as quickly and as safely as possible,” said Mr Naish.

Bam Nuttall has been contracted to oversee the transformation of the site. LLDC said it expects to announce the contractors for the development of the 28-acre South Plaza and Park Hub before Christmas.

The programme, called “Clear, Connect, Complete”, has a huge emphasis on sustainability and has set a minimum target of 3 per cent of the total workforce to be apprentices.

“Our mantra is jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Paul Brickell, LLDC executive director of regeneration and community.

He added they are also focusing on creating jobs for local people, with two apprentices on site already and plans to increase this to 12 by the new year.

Around 1,000 construction workers will be employed on the site at the peak of the transformation programme.

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