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Evening Standard: "Stratford’s rebirth offers a lesson for the whole capital"

"The success of London’s Olympics legacy highlights the importance of central planning and transport links"

Link to web site

"Just 10 years ago, Stratford was a dump. Much of it a dodgy wasteland, it was home to a fridge mountain, derelict factories and a landfill site. It required a leap of imagination to envisage the area thriving. But this was the vision of Ken Livingstone and the Olympic bid team as they flew to Singapore in 2005: regenerating east London was at the heart of London’s Games.

"... Stratford’s growth [since] into to a new commercial hub still has a long way to go, as does the promised construction of thousands of new homes there. But industry observers think it will succeed: average office prices are competitive, with rents and business rates at around half those of booming King’s Cross and a third less than Canary Wharf.

"... Yet there are lessons for the rest of London. First, transport links were crucial. It’s a point TfL’s director of planning Michèle Dix makes for regeneration of London’s other big remaining wasteland, Nine Elms. Without an agreement on the extension of the Northern line it would never have happened; now the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station is powering ahead and Nine Elms will follow.

"... But without effective, strategic central planning, London’s regeneration too often subsides into local squabbles and delays [and corruption]. And these ambitions for our city will not happen through the market alone. Stratford is the proof of that."

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