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Old November 4th, 2009, 09:24 PM   #1361
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Aquatic Centre.

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Old November 4th, 2009, 09:28 PM   #1362
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Olympic hopes and dreams from the water's edge
Richard Morrison
The Times
November 4, 2009

I am struck by how much the Games is still perceived as belonging to London alone.

The invitation was irresistible. “Come and inspect the new Olympic Stadium — by boat!” said Tony Hales, chairman of British Waterways. So last Friday, precisely 1,001 days before the opening of the 2012 Games, I took up his offer.

It was a weird and wonderful excursion for many reasons. First, because after you leave the Thames at Limehouse you glide along such exotic waterways as the Bow Back Rivers, the Three Mills Wall River, the Limehouse Cut and the Bow Creek, which brings you back to the Thames east of the Isle of Dogs. They used to be labelled London’s “forgotten” rivers. But that was before the fateful moment when London won the bid to host the Olympics, and these forlorn marshes were suddenly earmarked as the site of the biggest media show on Earth. Even three years ago, when I cycled round the area, it was still an inhospitable wasteland, crisscrossed by putrid streams and pockmarked by industrial debris and derelict factories.

The transformation is breathtaking. The rivers and canals sparkle. Towpaths have been mended, bridges painted, fish frolic, and the reedbanks are a twitcher’s paradise. There are joggers and cyclists everywhere, and even one of those coveted icons of trendy urban living: a Banksy graffito. True, the yuppyish waterside apartments rising everywhere — all bijou balconies, kindergarten colours and faux-distressed wood — strike me as aesthetically shallow and already a bit dated. Yet undeniably they are a quantum leap forward from the smashed-up warehouses they replaced. And the impressive lock just completed by British Waterways at Three Mills has made this network of little rivers navigable by big barges again. So nearly two million tonnes of the construction material needed for the Olympic site can be transported by water, saving an estimated 170,000 lorry journeys on some of London’s most congested roads.

All that will gladden the heart of any Londoner who, like me, has watched the depressing 50-year decline of the old East End — fatally dependent on the dying docks, the Kray gang and other doomed industries. And it’s good for everyone else as well. There’s only one effective way to stop housebuilders concreting over every blade of grass in southern England — and that’s by making hitherto down-and-out areas of our towns and cities attractive to the aspiring middle classes. Irrespective of the Olympics, the regeneration going on in gritty East End boroughs such as Hackney, Newham, Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets is of massive significance. It means that London can continue to expand — but expand inwards, not across the entire Home Counties.

Of course, nothing is “irrespective of the Olympics” in London now. A massive area, about 500 acres, has been turned into a giant fortified building site. The only way to get even moderately close to the action is to do what I was privileged to do: creep along the Bow Back Rivers by boat. That way, you get right alongside the main Olympic Stadium.

The good news is that it seems remarkably complete — at least as far as its outer shell is concerned. The bad news? Well, it also looks much like every other big British stadium constructed in the past 15 years. It’s early days, I know, but nothing about this workaday design promises to be as heartstopping as Beijing’s amazing bird’s nest.

If you want architectural daring, however, the groovy 160-metre curved roof of Zaha Hadid’s hugely controversial Aquatic Centre can also be glimpsed from the waterway. And glimpsed it certainly should be. At £303 million, it will be the most expensive swimming pool in the history of Western civilisation.

And all around these two mighty structures is less glamorous evidence of the Olympic Park’s vital infrastructure taking shape. Right now there can’t be a bigger or busier building site in the world. That’s heartwarming to see. The sceptical wag who manufactured T-shirts with the slogan “London Olympics — 2013” may yet be confounded.

All of which is good news for me. Eight years ago, when it seemed as if Britain might wimp out of bidding for the Olympics altogether, I wrote an article on these pages lambasting the “can’t do” and “won’t happen” mentality that I felt was enervating the political and media classes. A series of spectacular fiascos — high-profile construction projects, such as the Millennium Dome, Scottish Parliament, British Library and Wembley Stadium, that had gone hundreds of millions over budget — seemed to be turning us into a nation so paralysed by defeatism, so hard-wired for mediocrity, that we believed ourselves incapable of realising our grandest visions.

That struck me as pathetic. The last time we hosted the Olympics, London was still a bombsite, food rationed and the nation all but bankrupt. We still put on a damn good show. I felt it was mad to let the Olympics go to Paris — to the French, for heaven’s sake! — without even a whimper of a challenge.

But it would be dishonest to say that in the years since then my faith hasn’t wavered. Budgets have soared, politicians have squabbled and prevaricated endlessly, high-powered planners have strutted in and flounced out, and blueprints been rewritten more times than Liz Taylor’s marriage certificate.

So what I saw on my boat trip last week was massively reassuring. It’s now impossible to feel that, with 996 days still to go, the Olympic Park won’t be completed on time, and completed with distinction. Oddly, the financial turmoil of the past year may have helped, not hindered. With the building industry in the doldrums, construction costs can surely be squeezed downwards. We taxpayers may yet see some change out of ten billion quid. Two years ago that figure (four times higher than the original estimate) produced howls of fury. Now, after the £37 billion we have spent bailing out the banks, it looks quite reasonable.

But it’s one thing to have the bricks and mortar in place, quite another to win hearts and minds. Talking to people up and down the country I’m struck by how much the 2012 Games is still perceived as belonging to London alone. Not long ago I chaired a public meeting in Birmingham to discuss how lottery money was being spent. I asked the audience to raise their hands if they thought the 2012 Olympics would bring any benefit to people in the Midlands. There were about 200 punters in the hall. Not a single hand went up.

The newly-launched plan to stage 60 big sporting events in 20 cities across the UK between now and 2012 may help to enthuse sports fans. But millions of sceptics around Britain, and even in London, remain unconvinced that the Olympics will be anything other than a colossal waste of our money, at a time when few people have cash to spare. Whoever wins the next election will need to embark on an urgent campaign of mass persuasion if the 2012 Games are not to be tarnished by widespread resentment.

Me? I’m just hoping that I can borrow the British Waterways boat to get to the Olympic Stadium when the Games start. Well, would you trust the trains?
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Old November 5th, 2009, 11:10 PM   #1363
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Found this browsing the net tonight, a picture someone took from a plane:




Stadium is obviously visible.

Aquatics Centre roof to the far right in the middle

Just above this will be the water polo venue

Boxy building at the top is the IBC/MBC

Handball arena is being constrcucted in the space surrounded by blue fences just below the IBC/MPC

Hockey venue will be just to the right of the IBC/MPC

Warm up tracks will be built in the bottom left of the photo

-------

Out of shot, to the right of the photo are the velodrome, bmx circuit, basketball arena and Olympic Village

-------


Map of the site
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Old November 6th, 2009, 05:45 AM   #1364
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Amazing pic .

..................................................................

London 2012 Basketball Venue (external materials)
Olympic Delivery Authority

Twelve thousand capacity temporary arena for the basketball competition and the Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Rugby competitions. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre.

30 October 2009
Planning reference: 09/90275/AODODA
Tagged with: Sports | Design review | London | London 2012 | London 2012
We reviewed the original planning application for this scheme on 30 January 2009.

We have now considered the additional information provided relating to the detailed design of the external membrane of the Basketball venue and make the following comments in respect of detail and the overall building.

We are happy to support the outcome of what has been a productive, iterative design process. Certainty as to use and re-use has helped focus on the necessary attributes of this very large temporary facility. We think, as proposed, the venue will be striking and that the final detail design of sculpted membrane panels is a considerable improvement on earlier versions.

We think the proposed LED lighting strategy in its current form would be acceptable although we would understand if other strategies, for example projection, were in the end employed. In respect of the fabric colour we think that projection would be better served by the lighter colour envisaged. We anticipate reviewing the final proposed lighting choice at the appropriate time.

image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


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Old November 6th, 2009, 10:04 PM   #1365
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Old November 7th, 2009, 03:52 PM   #1366
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The supports of the Aquatic Centre have been removed. The roof is finally on «its own».

[IMG]http://i33.************/1g3gcz.jpg[/IMG]
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Old November 7th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #1367
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WoW! Dream place
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Old November 7th, 2009, 07:57 PM   #1368
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Is anyone on here a structural engineer? I'd love to know how the hell it supports itself! No doubt I'll be watching a programme about it on National Geographic in a few years time.

And the velodrome's starting to look pretty good:
image hosted on flickr

Last edited by Gherkin; November 12th, 2009 at 04:09 PM.
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Old November 7th, 2009, 08:11 PM   #1369
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It owes it supporting logic in a similar way to that of a hot air baloon. The roof is positioned to the millionth of a millimetre at such an angle that it pratically generates its own vacuum under which the air is superheated into a precise microclimate.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 09:45 PM   #1370
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London 2012 Aquatics Centre roof and dive pool complete
11 November 2009
london2012.com

The wave-shaped Aquatics Centre roof has been successfully lifted and lowered into place completing what was one of the most complex engineering and construction challenges of the Olympic Park ‘big build’.

image hosted on flickr


The 160m long sweeping roof frame of the Zaha Hadid designed Aquatics Centre, weighing over 3000 tonnes and resting on just three concrete supports, will be the gateway to the Olympic Park. In legacy the venue will provide two 50m swimming pools, a diving pool and dry diving area for community and elite use.

image hosted on flickr


The roof steel was fabricated in Newport from plate rolled in Gateshead, Motherwell and Scunthorpe, assembled on the Aquatics Centre site and connected together 20m off the ground on temporary supports. The completed roof frame was then carefully lifted over 1m at one end and lowered into its permanent position with the temporary supports removed.

image hosted on flickr


ODA Chief Executive David Higgins said:
'The Aquatics Centre is on track for completion in mid-2011 and the sweeping roof that will form the ‘Gateway to the Games’ is now a fixture in the skyline alongside the Olympic Stadium. The Aquatics Centre will be a new landmark building for east London and will offer elite and community swimming and diving facilities in legacy.

'Across the programme we are on schedule and within budget. However, we are not complacent. Our toughest year is ahead of us as the workforce and activity on site reaches a peak.'

London 2012 Organising Committee Chairman Sebastian Coe said:
'The Aquatics Centre is going to be a spectacular venue for the Games in 2012 and its unique roof will be a wonderful addition to the east London skyline. At Games-time, 17,500 excited spectators will be able to ‘raise the roof’ cheering on the swimmers, including our British medal hopefuls, and in legacy it will become a much-needed elite and community facility. We are making great progress – and are fully on track with this iconic gateway to the Olympic Park.'

image hosted on flickr


Tessa Jowell, Olympic Minister, said:
'The wave-shaped roof of the Aquatics Centre is an iconic feature of the Olympic Park and one which will inspire thousands of elite athletes and keep-fitters during the Games and beyond. The construction of the roof has drawn on the skills and expertise of businesses in England, Scotland and Wales and now with the difficult technical manoeuvre needed to lift the roof into place complete, this is another success in the Park’s development.'

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
'Not only does the Aquatics Centre act as a benchmark for the amazing pace of delivery on the 2012 Games, but along with the Stadium, it also provides an early taste of the truly fantastic legacy that is already rising out of the Olympic Park.'

image hosted on flickr


British Swimming Chief Executive David Sparkes said:
'The Aquatics Centre with its unique design will, I am sure, inspire all our athletes to work hard to not only compete in 2012 but to make the nation proud of the facility and athletes as they deliver medal winning performances. Bringing this magnificent building to life in 2012 will inspire Londoners to swim more and have great fun in the Aquatics Centre for years to come.'

Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company which is responsible for the long term planning, management and maintenance of the Olympic Park and venues after the Games, said:
'The Aquatics Centre will be an iconic building and a thriving centre for community use in the Park after the Games. Its two 50m pools and a 25m diving pool will also offer elite swimmers a world class training facility.

'Its roof is set to become one of the most recognisable features of the Park.'

image hosted on flickr


Raising the roof
In March 2009 the ‘big lift’ began of the 160m long and up to 90m wide roof which rests on two concrete supports at the northern end and a 28m long and 5m wide, supporting ‘wall’ at its southern end.

A huge 30m steel truss weighing over 70 tonnes was lifted into place on top of the southern wall and connected to ten steel trusses each made up of four sections which in total will span up to 120m to the two northern roof supports.

The steel trusses were fabricated in Newport from plate rolled in Gateshead, Motherwell and Scunthorpe, assembled on the Aquatics Centre site and connected together 20m off the ground on three rows of temporary support trestles.

image hosted on flickr


Once the steel frame was complete it was lifted over a metre at its southern end, turning on rotating joints in the northern roof supports. The top of the temporary trestles was removed and the 160m long roof frame lowered on to its three permanent roof supports.

As the full weight of the roof rested on its supports is slid approximately 20cm into its joints on the southern wall. The roof has been designed to stretch, twist and contract in response to the effects of snow, wind and changing temperatures.

Temporary trestles, which have now all been removed, were taken out in phases to enable work to continue beneath the roof, including the digging out and concreting of the venue’s two 50 metre swimming pools and 25 metre diving pool.

image hosted on flickr


Work will begin this autumn on the aluminium roof covering, half of which is recycled, and early next year installation will start on the timber cladding of the12,000 metre squared ceiling which will sweep outside to cover the northern roof supports. Red Lauro from sustainable sources has been selected as the ceiling timber that will combine the required level of durability and visual impact.

Work is well underway on the 250m and 45m wide land bridge that forms the main pedestrian entrance to the Games from the Stratford City development, spanning the Aquatics Centre and forming the roof of the training pool.

image hosted on flickr


Aquatics Centre factfile
The Zaha Hadid designed Aquatics Centre is located in the south of the Olympic Park and will be the main ‘Gateway into the Games', hosting swimming, diving, synchronised swimming, water polo finals and the swimming discipline of the Modern Pentathlon

The Aquatics Centre will have a capacity of 17,500 during the Games, reducing to a maximum of 2,500 in legacy, with the ability to add 1,000 for major events, and provide two 50m swimming pools, a diving pool and dry diving area - facilities London does not have at present

Eleven industrial buildings have been demolished on the 55,000 m2 site.

Around 160,000 tonnes of soil have been dug out on of what was one of the more challenging and complex areas of the Olympic Park, contaminated with pollutants including petrol, oil, tar, solvents and heavy metals such as arsenic and lead

Four skeletons were discovered and removed from a prehistoric settlement discovered on the site of the Aquatic Centre.

140,000 tonnes of clean soil has been brought from other areas of the Olympic Park to prepare for construction to start.

Balfour Beatty is building the Aquatics Centre and huge land-bridge that forms the roof of the training pool and the main pedestrian access to the Olympic Park. Construction work will be complete in 2011 for test events ahead of the Games.

The river that runs alongside the venue has been widened by eight metre by building 550m of new river walls.

The sweeping roof, which is 160m long and 80m at its widest point, is an innovative steel structure weighing over 3000 tonnes with a striking and robust aluminium covering, half of which is recycled, resting on three supports.

Construction started on the foundations in July 2008. A 3,000 tonne concrete ‘bridge’ has been built spanning and protecting the tunnels which have been dug to run powerlines beneath the site. The 18.5m tall northwest roof support has been built on top of this base.

Work is well underway on the 250m and 45m wide land bridge that forms the main ‘Gateway to the Games’ from the Stratford City development, spanning the Aquatics Centre and forming the roof of the training pool.

Around 1,000m cubic metres of concrete has been poured to create five sets of bridge supports, steel beams have been lifted into place to form the first section of the bridge spanning railway lines and roadways. Work is now currently underway on the section of bridge that will form the training pool roof. The land bridge is on track to be complete before summer 2010. Fourteen steel beams, up to 60m long and weighing 75 tonnes each have been produced in Scunthorpe, fabricated in Bolton and lifted into place.

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Old November 12th, 2009, 11:13 PM   #1371
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And to think Athens didn't even get around to putting the roof over their pool in time for the games lol.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 12:04 AM   #1372
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gherkin View Post
Is anyone on here a structural engineer? I'd love to know how the hell it supports itself! No doubt I'll be watching a programme about it on National Geographic in a few years time.
Although I have no involvement in this project, it appears to be a clever arrangment of steel trusses with outrigger trusses all shaped to fit the 'wave'. In principal, a more complicated arrangement of the timber trussed rafters you would find in any suburban semi detatched house loft.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #1373
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This is well, well worth looking at; an interactive virtual panorama of the Olympic Park taken from a helicoptor or light aircraft:

http://www.vrwebdesign.co.uk/london-...-virtual-tour/

------

Click on the third box from the left in the bar at the bottom to load the Olympic Park.

Once it's loaded, click the circle with three arrows to turn off auto rotate.

Clockwise from top left:

The first shot you'll see shows piles of mud in the top left. Temporary tennis courts for the Paralympics will be built here.

The velodrome's shell is clearly visible next to that, above which will be the BMX circuit. The big flat brown patch next to that is where the basketball arena is being built. Then, further right still is the Olympic Village, the massive first blocks of which are structurally complete.

Over the rail lines, and past Stratford International Station, the great big grey lump is the Stratford City development.

Below that you can see the completed roof structure of the Aquatic Centre, and further down still, the Olympic Stadium surrounded by water.

On the far bottom left of the picture is the IBC/MBC (the grey boxy structure) and to the right of that will be the handball arena. Above the IBC/MPC, hockey pitches will be built.

------

I think this gives a great overview of the entire park, and the scale of the development. You can fly around and zoom in on things and rotate round.

Enjoy!
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Old November 13th, 2009, 03:40 PM   #1374
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I like London a lot. I think this will be amazing Oympics
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Old November 15th, 2009, 02:10 PM   #1375
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Another aerial shot of the park from Frans Zwart on Flickr:

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Old November 16th, 2009, 11:36 AM   #1376
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It's like one giant construction site. Is Hackney changing much with all the developments nearby? I grew up just near there... it was a horrible place when I was a kid.
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Old November 16th, 2009, 01:06 PM   #1377
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Quote:
Originally Posted by city_thing View Post
It's like one giant construction site. Is Hackney changing much with all the developments nearby? I grew up just near there... it was a horrible place when I was a kid.
I wouldnt describe Hackney as a horrible place anymore. I moved here 2 years ago out of choice because of its vibrant arts and music scene and love it here. I think a large amount of gentrification has taken place (even before the olympics rocked up) particularly in Shoreditch, Dalston and Hackney central. It also has some of the best green spaces in the city in the form of London Fields and Victoria Park. Even the notoriously bad transport links are improving with the opening of the London Overground line in 2010.

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Old November 17th, 2009, 09:45 AM   #1378
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I can't vouch for the past, but from my journeys into Hackney, it is very obvious to tell that the gentrification that has swept through areas like Shoreditch has/is extending to Hackney.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 06:21 PM   #1379
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Mayor's Olympics advisor hints at wider remit for OPLC
By Paul Norman on November 17, 2009 3:57 PM | 1 Comment | No TrackBacks

The Olympic Park Legacy Company's remit may be extended to include the regeneration of the 900-acre Royal Docks and other key east London sites it seems.

Speaking at a London Assembly Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee review of the Olympic Legacy plans, Neale Coleman, the mayor's Olympics adviser said that there was a danger that the OPLC's current remit was "too narrow in scope" if the competing Boroughs were to bring forward an integrated redevelopment of east London post Games.

It all of course makes a deal of sense and has been suggested to me by property people as likely for some time.

However, the OPLC will have a battle on its hands to wrest control of the Royal Docks from competing agencies the London Development Agency and the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation

Coleman said: "There is a difficult judgement to be made. In the initial stages the boroughs did not want to create a new vehicle that would have a wider remit and wanted it to have a clear focus on the park and immediate areas surrounding the park .. But perhaps it should look at the rest of the Lower Lea Valley with, for instance, taking control of the Royal Docks a possible scenario.

"It may be that over time a judgement might be made that if the legacy company develops successfully it will extend its geographical remit."
Elsewhere Coleman did shed light on a number of areas although there appears to be little progress on deciding who will actually own key sites post-Games.
The most amusing interlude occurred when Assembly member Victoria Borwick questioned why the Athletes Village was called a village when it did not have local shops and post offices and all of those other things one associates with a more bucolic vision of English villages.
Coleman briefly appeared to lose the plot as he launched into a tirade about how his neighbours in his street in Islington were mainly commuters into central London but there was still a community spirit in the area.
Borwick then jumped on Coleman's description of the Olympic Park as being most likely to replicate Hampstead Heath by wondering how Hampstead High Street was going to be recreated in Stratford.
Chair Dee Doocey managed to bring order back after a brief flirtation with anarchy among board members and all appeared to agree that as soon as is possible the word "village" should be quietly dropped from descriptions of the athletes' accommodation for the 2012 Games.
Other points of interest were:
Coleman said a key issue that needed to be addressed in terms of legacy was how the land interests owned by London & Continental Railways, which form the gateway to the park, are brought forward in tandem with development of the Olympic Park, and how housing is created that appeals to families.

He also said the legacy company would shortly need to settle whether or not it wanted to retain the Stadium's 80,000-seat capacity post Games for a significant period as bids to host the Rugby Football and Professional Football World Cups had to be submitted soon.

Coleman also confirmed that the mayor had tasked the OPLC with seeing if a higher education development could be brought to the park and said that Baroness Ford in particular was pushing for as much of the Olympics Park as possible to be up and running and open for use immediately after the Games.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 01:54 PM   #1380
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there raising the roof ring now?? kool
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