London Olympic site out of bounds for public for 18 months

Updated: May 20, 2012, 21:48 PM IST

London: The London Olympic Park, including the stadium and aquatic centre, will be closed to the public from the end of the Games until 2014, a media report said on Sunday.

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), responsible for the park in east London says 10 months will be required simply to convert the aquatic centre including the removal of 15,000 spectator seats after the July 27 to August 12 Games.

It will be the summer of 2014 before the stadium can be reopened to the public, Sunday Times reported. The ArcelorMittal Orbit, the 375?ft twisting red tower that is expected to become a tourist attraction, will also be shut down after the Games and will not reopen until Easter 2014.

The LLDC, which is responsible for the park after the completion of the Games, wants to open the site "as quickly as possible" but says 300 million pounds of work needs to be carried out. It states that the park will reopen in phases from July next year.

Once the Games are over, the legacy corporation will transform the area into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It will remove the temporary Games structures, including the water polo and basketball arenas. Temporary bridges and walkways used for the Olympics will also be removed.

Five neighbourhoods with more than 8,000 new homes will be built in the park. These are in addition to the 2,818 new homes being provided at the Olympic village, which will be called East Village after the Games.

The legacy corporation said the 18-month transformation programme would be one of the biggest construction projects in Europe.

?We are working to get people using the park as soon as is safely possible after the Games. We have deliberately planned the works so we can open the park in phases, with the first part of the north park opening within 10 months of the Games finishing," a spokesman said.

"The key is to get people on the park as soon as it is safe to do so, bearing in mind the scale of construction work," he said.

He said that it was not considered suitable to open the Orbit tower to the public while major construction work was under way at the park, and that it would also cost more money.

PTI