Motion to Take Note
My Lords, a great deal has happened in east London since the summer of 2012, when the world marvelled not only at this country’s ability to put on such a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games and to arrange the weather for it, but also its bold promises to create a legacy from the Games in east London second to none. While there have been some challenges, the legacy promises made in east London in terms of regeneration are on track and developing at quite a pace. I declare an interest as a director of the London Legacy Development Corporation and as chairman of the Communities and Regeneration Committee.
I first became involved in the Olympics 17 years ago, when it was becoming clear to east Londoners that if London put its hat into the ring, the only place in the capital city with enough vacant land to hold the Games was on our doorstep in the Lower Lea Valley. It was also clear that if the Games came in 2012, they would present east London with a bold opportunity for regeneration at a scale that had not been seen since the Victorian age. The Games could act as a catalyst and speed up the regeneration process that was already well under way down the valley. It could help join the dots and connect the development nodes to the south at the Greenwich peninsula and the Royal Docks with the £3.7 billion regeneration programme already proposed to the north, in Canning Town.
Across the water from there was Canary Wharf, the business district, today due to double in size in the next 10 years, and to the north was the £1.7 billion community regeneration programme in Poplar, also already under way and championed by the local housing company, Poplar HARCA, and the Bromley by Bow Centre and its partners. This community regeneration programme had a focus on community building, enterprise and entrepreneurship in what were formerly dependent housing estates. Connect these developments with Stratford and a new Westfield shopping centre—at that time a twinkle in the eye—and position the Olympic site next door as a catalyst, and one could begin to imagine a new city emerging in the east of London, with its own airport and world-class rail communications network. Sir David Varney, former CEO of Shell and BG and chairman of O2, described it as one of the most significant investment zones in the western world.
What connected these development nodes together was the 6.5 miles of waterways which have driven the social and economic life of east London for 2,000 years. Fly into City Airport and look down and one can see it. What was coming to life was what the late Reg Ward originally described, in his first plans for the London Docklands Development Corporation, as a water city—I have copies of his original documents. This was a dream. Today this vision is becoming a reality and we need central government to understand and ever more focus on the economic benefits east London is once again bringing not only to London but to our national economy. There is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the business, public and social enterprise sectors to grasp the moment and join the dots. There may also be important hard-won lessons here to share with the northern powerhouse and other city regions that dream of similar transformation.
I go back to the detail of what we have achieved on the Olympic Park since 2012, as its tentacles spread down the waterways and out into the surrounding communities of the Lower Lea Valley. It is a little over 10 years since London won the bid in Singapore to stage the Games of the 30th Olympiad. Since the end of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, this country has secured the most advanced legacy of any modern Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is now open and flourishing, with 8 million visitors since it opened in July 2013. The permanent venues are thriving, with spectacular events such as the Rugby World Cup 2015 and many regular users. Some 40,000 additional jobs will be located on and around the park by 2025.
East London has a history of building public sector housing estates which have been both a social and economic disaster, which we do not intend to repeat. We want to build not just housing but integrated communities that connect people and place and encourage business and enterprise and a sense of well-being and community. The first of five new neighbourhoods is now under construction, with two other neighbourhoods brought forward by six years. Some 31% of the homes we build will be affordable and 24,000 new homes will be built in the wider area by 2031. Many of the essential elements critical to delivering probably the most successful Games to date have helped with the unfolding regeneration story.
Before the Games, we created an effective process to deliver the venues, stage the events and hand the venues over for legacy use. The key ingredients were ensuring that we had dedicated bodies for delivering venues and infrastructure and for staging the events with high-quality, motivated personnel. It was also essential to have cross-party political support at national, regional and local government levels. That support did not waiver when Boris Johnson was elected as Mayor of London in May 2008 and the national Government changed in 2010. Post-Games transformation work began as soon as the Paralympic Games ended.
That work and the development of the park is the responsibility of the London Legacy Development Corporation, a regeneration body answerable to the Mayor of London. It has plan-making and development control powers and is a single point of contact for developers, investors and landowners. From autumn 2012 to spring 2014, the LLDC undertook a major programme of work to create the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which opened in phases from July 2013 to April 2014. One key to ensuring success was to ensure that the permanent venues had their long-term legacy secured as soon as possible. The Copper Box Olympic handball arena is now a public sports centre for the local community and has hosted major events, attracting 800,000 visits since its opening in July 2013. The London Aquatics Centre and its two 50-metre swimming pools are hugely popular, with 1.2 million visitors already. There is a big demand from schools and swimming clubs and a waiting list for the Tom Daley Diving Academy.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit opened in April 2014 and there are plans for a new slide to attract even more visitors. It will be one of the highest slides in the world and Boris promises us that he will be the first to give it a try—watch this space. The Lee Valley VeloPark, which opened in March 2014, now has four cycling disciplines and is a venue for major competitions. Sir Bradley Wiggins broke the one-hour distance record there in June 2015. The Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre opened in 2014 and is the host this year to the EuroHockey Championships and wheelchair tennis championships.
The stadium has of course been the greatest challenge. Its transformation was paused twice, in 2013 and 2015, to allow athletics events to take place and for five matches in the Rugby World Cup this autumn. Almost 500,000 spectators will have passed through the venue this year. The stadium will now be a national competition centre for British athletics and home for West Ham United Football Club. It is an iconic venue that will keep east London on the world map. It will be capable, going forward, of hosting a wide variety of other sporting and cultural events, from those five matches in the Rugby World Cup and the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games to a motorsports race of champions event—as well as hosting the 2017 IPC and IAAF world athletics championships.
People have asked why we could not leave the stadium as it was. The reality was that much of the infrastructure for the stadium was temporary, so a new roof covering all the seats was required so that it could stage international sporting events of the highest standard. It will be the UK’s only IAAF cat 1 and UEFA cat 4 accredited venue. It was a massive engineering project, requiring a new permanent roof and significant work to strengthen infrastructure to support the load. A new retractable seating system has been installed to make the venue as flexible as possible.
One of the exciting developments, for me, is Here East—the development of the former press and broadcast centres. This building is bigger than Canary Wharf, laid horizontally, and the LLDC has just signed a 200-year lease with a technology company to create a new business district generating 5,300 jobs. The building is already 40% let, with tenants including BT Sport, Loughborough University, the new London postgraduate campus, Hackney Community College, an Infinity data centre and Wayne McGregor Random Dance—a world-class dance company.
The regeneration of the Olympic Park has not just been about buildings. It has also been about pulling down the 11 miles of fences that surrounded the park during Games time and connecting this 248-hectare site with local people and the local communities that surround it down the Lower Lea Valley. Forty-five thousand people have now participated in events as part of the “Active People, Active Park” programme. A community-based Paralympic sports programme, Motivate East, and the staging of the annual National Paralympic Day has been helped by £1.1 million in funding. Seventeen thousand sport and physical activity opportunities have been delivered for disabled people.
The major construction works at the park have allowed the LLDC to help create job and apprenticeship opportunities for local people, particularly for young people and underrepresented groups. The Games were not the end of the building period; in some ways, they were just a kick-start to a major regeneration programme. Hundreds of local people have been trained in industry-required trades and skills at the park.
Some of us in east London learnt many years ago that we are the environments that we live, work and play in. Quality design matters. The park is becoming a benchmark for design standards on accessibility and inclusive design. Some of the new buildings we are creating will be world-class. We are very conscious as a board of directors at the legacy corporation that we are not just rebuilding a park but are responsible for a critical catalyst, which will in time influence the transformation of an area down the Lower Lea Valley that is the size of some cities. Many newer developments down the valley have much to learn from all this work— and we want to share the lessons learnt. It is our hope that the Royal Docks, which is the next big piece of the regeneration jigsaw, will take on board these lessons and not repeat past mistakes.
The transformation of the 248 hectares of the Olympic Park is not confined to the park. One of the central goals of the regeneration programme has been to see the impact of the Games spill across the park boundary and out into its surrounding communities. Westfield Stratford City is today the largest urban shopping mall in northern Europe and attracts more than 40 million visitors each year to its 1.9 million square feet of retail space and three hotels. Future plans include 1.1 million square feet of office space. The international quarter borders the park with 4 million square feet of work space, 330 new homes, a new hotel and more than 50,000 square feet of shops and restaurants. It will create space for 25,000 jobs with Transport for London, while the Financial Conduct Authority have already committed to moving there by 2018. Glasshouse Gardens is under construction, with luxury apartments due to be occupied from 2016 with completion in 2017. Chobham Farm is creating 1,200 new homes in a mixed development to the east of the park. Lea Valley River Park has connected the park to the Royal Docks and Thames to the south, with a new continuous walking and cycling route along the River Lea. A new entrance is planned for Stratford station.
The legacy plans for the Olympic Park are not set in stone. They are constantly reviewed to ensure that they are fit for purpose and deliver the best outcomes for local communities. One of the planned neighbourhoods on the park was Marshgate Wharf, which has been through such a review. As a result of this process, it will now become the home to a new cultural and education district that Boris calls Olympicopolis—not easily said if you have false teeth. This exciting £2 billion project, bigger than the Centre Pompidou in Paris, will be home to new branches of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Sadler’s Wells dance company and, we hope, the Smithsonian Institution. In addition, University College London will create a new campus and University of the Arts London will combine its separate buildings to create one new home for the London College of Fashion.
The Government have committed £141 million to this scheme, master planners have been appointed for the UCL East campus and an architectural team led by Allies and Morrison is working on designs and a masterplan for Stratford waterfront. We hope that this scheme alone will create £2.8 billion of economic benefit and 3,000 new jobs. It will drive more than 1.5 million additional visitors to the park each year and deliver some 780 homes. The scheme neatly encapsulates the Olympic legacy. It is highly ambitious in its scope and objectives, will secure a lasting impact on local communities and will cement the creation of a new part of the capital in the area around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as it continues to be transformed.
This debate is timely, as the Foundation for FutureLondon will be launched later this evening at an event on the park, with the core task of securing those major philanthropic donations to complement the funds already committed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Mayor of London and the partner organisations involved.
I was very encouraged this summer to take 300 East End children into the Here East complex on the park for the first time, as part of a science summer school programme that Professor Brian Cox and I have been running in a local school in Tower Hamlets over the last four years. The summer school has been focused on connecting the school science curriculum with world-class university academics and local technology and engineering businesses that are putting down roots in the Lower Lea Valley. It has been focused on finding some of those 1 million engineers who we are short of in this country, and on which the success of our future economy so depends. Listening to 16 year-olds at Here East describe in detail the complex molecular biology of diabetes, seeing them engage with world-class scientists and engineers and listening to a 16 year-old West Indian boy describe in detail the Higgs boson was mind blowing. It gave us all just a little clue as to the role of the Olympicopolis and the Olympic Park, going forward. It pointed us to a talent pool that is critical to the future economy of this country, which will be triggered only if we can all move beyond our old-fashioned government silos and join the dots.
I finish on a personal note. Delivering the Olympic legacy in east London has been a long journey. It has required key leaders in the public, business and community sectors to come together and trust each other—to take the long view and to care about a place over a long period of time. It has required a clear and determined commitment to engage with and embrace the talent of a global community that is the modern east London—a community defined today not by stereotypes from the last war but by innovation, creativity, enterprise and entrepreneurship.
At a time when the Mayor of London is launching the “City in the East” master plan, I hope that the lessons that have been learnt delivering the legacy programme to date will be applied to these wider opportunities. It will be important that they are not run from City Hall or Whitehall. In the same way that the legacy company has brought together four boroughs to work closely with local partners, developers and communities, it will be important that the development nodes are locally owned and managed.
Investment will be needed. I encourage the Minister to reflect with the mayor on the less-than-glorious previous attempts to develop the Thames Gateway via central control with many boards and a wide range of representative bodies and contrast that with the focused approach of the legacy company. There is enormous potential, but this will not be delivered unless there are sufficient resources for infrastructure, particularly transport, including use of the bridges over the Thames. Equally, it will live up to its promise only if key local partners are empowered to take control and make it happen.
I finish with two brief questions for the Minister. First, given the scale of the developments in the Lower Lea Valley and that the centre of gravity of London is moving inextricably east, what practical steps are the Government taking to ensure that Eurostar stops at Stratford International station? The platform is already built. Secondly, what practical steps is the Minister able to take to ensure that the lessons learnt from the successful delivery of the regeneration legacy are applied to wider developments in east London and form an integral part of the wider devolution narrative for other parts of the UK, including the northern powerhouse, to ensure that they achieve their full potential? I beg to move.
My Lords, I declare past interests as former chairman of the British Olympic Association in the run-up to London 2012, director of the London Organising Committee and one of the full members of the Olympic Board back in 2005, which worked well, across party lines—as the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, pointed out—and to reasonable effect over the seven years of work it undertook. I also declare an interest as an officer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Sport and Fitness, a point I will come to in a moment.
The whole House should pay tribute to the work the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, has undertaken on this subject. When I started, very soon after we won the bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, already had a long history of assiduous hard work on behalf of the local community and businesses in the area with a vision for bringing the Olympic Games to London and regenerating the East End. His work has been consistent. It is helpful and timely that we are looking at this subject again today, and personally and professionally I congratulate him on is efforts to make sure that London 2012 was the success it was.
In this House the noble Lord has been ably assisted by the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, who has worked equally hard, raising the relevant questions and ensuring that all those interested in the subject were very much on message. He has also been assisted by the noble Lord, Lord Harris, who from a political standpoint has an extraordinary depth of knowledge of the subject but also chaired the ad hoc Select Committee that looked into the Olympic and Paralympic legacy. Again, it showed that by working together, which we have always done on matters relating to sport in this House, we can achieve a great deal.
Very soon after the Olympic Board first met in 2005, there was a clear vision. The bid was built on a promise to accelerate the planned regeneration of east London and the wider Thames Gateway. The Olympic programme was intended to deliver that promise as a critical component of the massive and comprehensive development of east London. Plans for the significant regeneration of the lower Lea Valley were underpinned by the then new opportunity area planning framework for the lower Lea Valley, which was launched by the Mayor of London, DCLG and the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation. The framework set out in the early days the comprehensive social, economic and environmental vision for changes in the valley for all those who live, work and visit there. Both mayors who were in post during the seven years recognised that the East End of London was a priority area for development, regeneration and infrastructure improvements, with the capacity in the period to 2016 to provide 104,000 additional homes and 249,000 jobs. Those were the objectives we began with.
The largest new urban park in Europe for 150 years was firmly in our minds, with 11,000 to 12,000 new jobs in the Olympic Park alone and, of course, new homes. Some 9,000 new homes were projected back in 2005-06 in the park area, including the conversion of the athletes’ village to new apartments, which was intended to contribute to increased local housing choice. Many of these objectives have been achieved; some have not. It is important and noteworthy that the success of the programme of urban regeneration of the East End of London to date has been in no small part due to the original work of Sir John Armitt, who headed up the ODA, and David Higgins and Alison Nimmo, who worked very effectively as a team. I remember John Armitt saying in the early days that 75p of every pound they spent was on long-term regeneration, so a great deal of work was already being done in the formative stage of design and implementation to create a lasting legacy for the project.
As the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, said, every aspect of the work we undertook was intended to make sure that London was a first: not only putting on a great games —which I believe we did, not least courtesy of the athletes, both Olympic and Paralympic, who excelled—but making sure that the whole Olympic Park was designed in a way that would benefit local communities, elite athletes training there in the future and other visitors. A great deal has been achieved in developing that vision and implementing the legacy outcome.
I have a number of questions to put to the Minister but I fully appreciate that, of all the ministerial team, she is probably the most hard worked at the moment, being responsible for a number of Bills. I am sure she recognises that there will be a number of questions and I, for one, would be completely relaxed if she responded to some noble Lords in writing, so she can think about some of these difficult issues and respond in full.
We always hoped there would be progress in narrowing the employment gap between the host boroughs and the rest of London. It was a subject that taxed the Select Committee, and in 2011 the six Olympic host boroughs and the Mayor of London published the Convergence Framework and Action Plan 2011 – 2015 to take forward collective actions towards meeting the convergence ambition that:
“Within 20 years the communities who host the 2012 Games will have the same social and economic chances as their neighbours across London”.
We have not achieved that. In 2012 the convergence gap was at its lowest, but since then even the Government’s own response to our supplementary questions to the Select Committee accepted that it has deteriorated to 2009 levels. I very much hope that the Ministers responsible will recognise the vital importance of narrowing this employment gap, as a result of the catalyst of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We need a new convergence strategy and action plan. It is being put in place for 2015-18, but I hope that the Government will attach a high priority to this critically important issue.
The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, raised a subject which has been raised before in this House and I hope he will forgive me for emphasising its importance. It is called Stratford International station for a good reason: it is meant to be international. Currently, no international services use it. As I understand it, the Government have little room for manoeuvre on Eurostar, which operates international services from London, because it is a privately owned enterprise, but the line between London and the Channel Tunnel is under a concession from the Government and is incentivised to increase traffic. That is the area where the Government can bring their influence most to bear. New services and new operators on the route are a function of government oversight of that concession. I hope the Minister can say today that there is still an impetus and wish to see Stratford International station develop the facilities to be truly international, which in its own right would be a catalyst for further business growth and a benefit to the local community.
I was disappointed in the response to our supplementary questions about the Prime Minister’s legacy team, which was set up with my noble friend Lord Coe as legacy ambassador, a legacy Cabinet committee and a legacy unit. In the immediate aftermath of 2012, we were all persuaded that many of the challenges that had to be faced on the urban regeneration legacy and the sports legacy were longer term. Ten years was regularly quoted by Ministers, my noble friend and others as a reasonable period within which to judge the success or otherwise of the urban regeneration legacy, so I was a little disappointed, to say the least, when the legacy unit that was based in the Cabinet Office until 2014 was effectively wound up after two years. I do not know whether we still have a legacy ambassador, or what resources have gone with the two people now within DCMS who look after legacy and attempt to co-ordinate such a huge issue. It is important to have strong, co-ordinated central responsibility within Government to ensure that the urban regeneration and sports legacies are successfully implemented and delivered.
We are focusing today principally on the urban regeneration legacy, but there were two key legacies from London 2012, the other being sport. The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, alluded to one of the unquestionably successful outcomes: hosting international events during the decade of sport. However, we have a long way to go on the sports legacy, and I shall touch briefly on this, as noble Lords would expect.
We are one of the very few countries in the world, certainly in the advanced world, which does not have a sports policy backed by legislation. Many countries such as Australia, France, Italy and Germany have had a number of measures brought before their legislatures to support sport, because sport now reaches out in government policy in a way it never did 25 years ago, be it tackling obesity or the importance of sport within the educational system. In the context of international affairs, it is excellent to see that the United Nations recognised only a couple of months ago that sport is an important development tool. I believe that the time is right for your Lordships’ House to consider a sports policy. Billions of pounds are spent on sport and recreation by different departments, but accountability is weak. The governance of sport nationally and internationally is poor and, regrettably, participation figures are falling in many sports. The methodology used to monitor levels of participation is so out of date as to be an embarrassment. How can you possibly accurately judge the level of teenage activity if you use only landlines to collect data for the active people survey? Recognising that teenagers are more likely to respond positively to a mobile might be a step in the right direction to get accurate figures to back up the active people survey. Investment is falling overall, and the level of volunteering was not raised to that which many of us hoped would be achieved immediately after 2012. Steps which could have been taken to link sponsors for 2012 to sports and grass-roots sports in this country were missed, and the net result is that some sports have near-total reliance on government or lottery funding.
That said, we have a new ministerial team, and we have never had a Secretary of State and a Minister for Sport with so much expertise and knowledge. Certainly, Tracey Crouch, the new Minister for Sport, is a great enthusiast for sport and I hope she will take on board a number of the issues I have raised.
There is one further point I want to make which is very important in the context of women’s football, hence the importance of declaring my interest earlier. When I was chairman of the BOA for London 2012, I fought long and hard to make sure that we had football teams in Team GB, particularly a women’s football team. The role of the British Olympic Association was to lead, select and manage. The Scottish and Welsh FAs did not agree with me, but they had no constitutional status in the context of the British Olympic Association, the International Olympic Committee or the FA. I cannot understand why we are not selecting to support and be role models for women’s sport a team that won a medal in the recent world cup and has real opportunities to medal in Rio next year. It was never a one-off, and I hope that the Minister will at least agree to come back to this House at some stage, perhaps in writing, to explain why we are not sending a women’s football team to Rio as part of Team GB.
The Paralympics were memorable. We started perhaps nervously, but we ended up focusing on the abilities of disabled athletes, not their disabilities. I hope we can look at the Olympic park best practice guidelines for access for disabled supporters to make sure that West Ham leads the country with an action plan; not removing walking aids, which happens at too many football grounds; enhanced steward training; supporter assistance teams; and making sure that ticketing policy and procedures look after those with disabilities. Too many clubs simply do not give season tickets to those with disabilities, which is wrong. We need named managers and disability access officers, and much more work needs to be done to meet the Equality Act 2010 conditions. Manchester United has been criticised recently in this House. I met its representatives yesterday, and it is now responding positively to many of these issues. I hope that one of the great legacies of the Paralympic Games will be that we take best practice in the Olympic park and disseminate it across the country, so that those with disabilities have far greater access to sporting events and, indeed, to wherever they wish to go in the country. I close by again congratulating my noble friend Lord Mawson, government and everybody who worked collectively and effectively towards delivering a successful urban regeneration legacy for London 2012.
My Lords, I echo the thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, not only for securing this debate but for the huge contribution that he has made over decades to the regeneration and life of east London. I also thank him for giving me the opportunity to reprise some of the themes of the Committee on Olympic and Paralympic Legacy, which I had the privilege of chairing in 2013. It is a particular pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, who had a pivotal role not only in the Games themselves but in the work of the committee that I chaired. We have just heard in his speech his knowledge and enthusiasm for pursuing the issues.
It is the local people who should have stood to gain the most from the Games’ legacy. It is for this reason that the regeneration of east London was a major part of the promised legacy. On the day the bid was won, Jack Straw, who was then Foreign Secretary, said:
“London’s bid was built on a special Olympic vision. That vision is of an Olympic games that will be not only a celebration of sport but a force for regeneration. The games will transform one of the poorest and most deprived areas of London”.—[Official Report, Commons, 6/7/05; col. 404.]
In 2009, the strategic regeneration framework for the Games, which has just been mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, was published. It articulated the objective that has underpinned activity ever since: that,
“within 20 years, the communities who host the 2012 Games will have the same social and economic chances as their neighbours across London”.
The so-called principle of convergence was born.
It is a fact that previous Games and other major sporting events around the world have failed to leave meaningful transformative legacies for local people. In our 2013 inquiry, we heard from the vice-president of the IOC that regeneration is all about domestic palatability, and the promise to transform the lives and prospects of future generations of east Londoners was the biggest moral case for the Games. The fact that the London Games have focused so heavily on the regeneration legacy is an inspiration to future host cities.
As we have heard, the regeneration of east London is a huge, long-term task, with a potentially great reward. There is no question but that the Games have had an amazing transformational effect on the area. Untold billions of investment were brought into the country and it is inconceivable that so much investment would have been put into east London in such a short timescale without the Games. However, the questions that we have to address this afternoon are whether that transformational momentum has been as great as it might have been; whether it has slowed too much since the Games themselves; and whether the progress can be sustained going forwards.
The redevelopment of the Olympic Park itself is led by the mayor’s London Legacy Development Corporation, the LLDC. It is responsible for delivering the social, economic and physical legacy of the Games—not only in terms of the long-term planning, development, management and maintenance of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park itself but in terms of its impact on the surrounding areas. I pay tribute to the work that it has done, including the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Mawson. I also pay tribute to the leadership shown in that work by Neale Coleman. His departure is an enormous loss to seeing through the next phases of the legacy. I am sure that his talents will be put to excellent use in his new role with my right honourable friend the leader of the Opposition.
In our 2013 report, we were pleased to find that the park was intended to offer a mix of good-quality new housing within the former athletes’ village and the five new neighbourhoods which will be developed across the park. We said how important it was that a fair proportion —by which we meant at least the LLDC’s target of 35%—of this housing was affordable for, and accessible to, local residents. The Government and mayor’s response to our report was that the aim was to deliver,
“as much affordable housing as possible”—
which is not quite the same. I do not deny that much new housing has been delivered. However, the 35% figure has been steadily eroded. In Chobham Manor, only 28% of the 828 new homes will be affordable. In the East Wick and Sweetwater neighbourhoods, the figure is 30%. The Government say that the Legacy Communities scheme has now been revised to set the upper affordable housing target to 31%—down from 35% to 31%. And that, of course, does not engage with the question of what “affordable” means in London.
I turn now briefly to the question of the transport infrastructure. Both noble Lords who have already spoken have highlighted the issue. The transport infrastructure is critical to the future of east London. The one particular issue which everyone is focused on is the recommendation that we and others have made that the Department for Transport take proper ownership of the unsolved problem of providing Stratford International station with international services. I was disappointed that the Government’s response showed no willingness—no willingness whatever—to engage to a greater degree to push this process along. There is still no progress now. Indeed, the Government have seemingly washed their hands of the matter, saying that it is a,
“commercial matter for the operator”;
and, earlier this year, that they are merely “supportive” of more extensive use of the HS1 network to improve rail connections with continental Europe. By implication, however, that supportiveness does not involve actually doing anything to promote Stratford International and making sure that some international trains stop there, with all the implications that that has for business in the local area and for the local communities.
The development of the park and the surrounding area is intended to generate significant new employment opportunities over the coming decades. Central to all this is the extent to which the Olympic Park itself comes to embody the potential future of the East End, a future of aspiration and hope and of technological jobs that will have benefit not only locally but for the nation as a whole. The transformation of the former media centre is crucial to this, as has already been mentioned. I know that the committee I chaired was impressed, in the very early days, by the way in which BT Sport had used the space that it had acquired. I visited Here East again a few months ago and was pleased to see how the plans were developing.
I have to say that the perception of the local people we met during our inquiry was that they have not always felt the benefits of these new opportunities. I am not sure that the position is much better now. Our report called on the responsible bodies to develop a co-ordinated programme through which new opportunities could be targeted at local communities. LLDC assured us then that it was rolling out a programme of outreach and engagement events to ensure that local people were aware, but it is a question of how you ensure that local people get those benefits.
Rolling out information will only ever be half the answer. The new jobs will be taken by locals only if the skills base of people in the area improves. That requires action to deliver the promised convergence. However, in many instances that vital convergence is not being delivered in the way that we might have hoped. Let us be clear: the employment rate remains worse in the six so-called growth boroughs than in the rest of London, and the gap is widening. The gap in median earnings for full-time owners remains stubbornly high; if you live in the six boroughs, expect to be paid less. The gap for the proportion of the working-age population qualified to at least level 4 is also getting worse. Those are all areas where convergence was looked for but has not been delivered.
Other aspects of convergence are faltering too. Unfortunately there are no new data to track household overcrowding, but the latest figures available suggest that in the six growth boroughs more than one in 10 households are defined as being overcrowded—10.4% is not just not good enough, and substantially worse than the London average. Health levels remain poorer than in the rest of London: obesity levels in year 6 school -children, those in the top class at primary school, remain more than 10% higher than in the rest of London, and again the gap is widening. Mortality rates from cancer in those under 75 remain stubbornly higher than in the rest of London, 14% higher in those six boroughs. The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, referred to the survey of sports activities. We discussed its shortcomings in our committee but, even on the basis of that survey, nearly 60% of adults do no sport or activity, nearly 20% worse than across London as a whole, and those levels, and the gap, have risen since the Games themselves.
So why has the progress not been as good as we might have legitimately expected? That brings me to what I always regarded as the central theme of our 2013 report: the real-world pressure of a set deadline to host the Games, and the political unacceptability of failing to deliver a world-class event, meant that there was a very healthy drive to ensure that the plethora of organisations, the veritable Tower of Babel of competing voices within and outside government, were led strongly to a single common purpose. That leadership and sense of direction is just as necessary if we are to deliver the legacy after the Games now that those fixed deadlines have passed.
In 2013 we were unconvinced that the Government’s oversight arrangements would represent a robust way to deliver the legacy. We identified confusions on the timeframes and targets involving its delivery, and a lack of clear ownership. We recommended that one senior Minister be given overall responsibility for the many strands of the legacy, working with the devolved Administrations to ensure UK-wide co-ordination, otherwise we could not see how any of the meaningful legacy would take place outside London. In the same vein we called for the mayor’s office to be given lead responsibility and the necessary powers to take forward the vision for the future development of east London and create a lasting Olympic legacy in the capital. In their response, the Government did not engage with the recommendation that a single Minister be given responsibility beyond restating the role of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. With the best will in the world, DCMS may well focus on the sporting legacy, but whether it is going to have the clout to focus on the wider regeneration legacy, not only in London but elsewhere, I question.
Revisiting the issue now, it is clear that the worries expressed in our report were justified. In the run-up to the Games, governance was effectively joined up between London and central government. Since the Games, though, those joint mechanisms have been dropped, and therefore the joined-up common purpose of achieving Olympic legacy and convergence has not been as effective as hoped. Since entering into an interauthority agreement in 2006, the host boroughs, now the growth boroughs, have had in place robust governance arrangements for the discussion of matters relating to the 2012 Games, the resulting legacy for those boroughs and the drive towards convergence. That has been delivered through regular meetings of borough chief executives, leaders and mayors to provide strategic direction. So the boroughs have been playing their part and continue to do so. In the run-up to the Games, they were involved and participated in the east London legacy group and the Olympic Park Regeneration Steering Group, where they had a place at the table with the other relevant stakeholders, including the London mayor and central government. This indeed ensured a successful Games, defined the commitment to legacy and convergence post-Games and provided the framework for strategic direction and delivery. The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, referred to this.
Four of the boroughs have a place within the governance of the London Legacy Development Corporation because of their involvement with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, but it is important that the involvement of all growth boroughs, previously exercised through the now-defunct east London legacy group and the Olympic Park Regeneration Steering Group, be replicated in any future strategic governance arrangements so that legacy is effectively focused and the drive towards convergence in east London takes place in an area much wider than the park itself. Since the Games’ time, participation work between boroughs and the GLA has continued—an annual report on convergence is published—but what is lacking is a triple-tiered forum where central government and London government sit with local government, either at political or officer level.
As we move forward, I fear that already the present mayor is beginning to lose interest and focus as he sets his sights unequivocally on other prizes, perhaps at the other end of this building. London-wide leadership is being dissipated and, with the best will in the world, I repeat that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is not a powerful central government department able to knock other departments’ heads together so as to complete the joint endeavour to achieve convergence and ensure that the most enduring legacy of the Olympics will be the regeneration of an entire community for the direct benefit of everyone who lives there.
In 2013 my committee called for strong leadership to drive the vision for regeneration legacy forward—leadership from the mayor’s office and leadership at the heart of central government. Massive progress has been made, as we have seen, but there are now clear signs that convergence is faltering and the unique once-in-a-century opportunity provided by the London Games is in danger of not being fulfilled to its maximum potential.
My Lords, I remember going to the site that was to become the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park just after we had won the bid to host the Games and feeling completely overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead of the organisers. I need not have worried, because they exceeded all our expectations and provided world-class facilities on time and within budget—a spectacular achievement. Since the Games, a team of largely unknown people has also worked tirelessly in the background to ensure a lasting legacy. We owe them our gratitude. I too pay tribute to the fantastic work that has been done by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson.
As the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, said, participation in sport is sadly declining again. But sport was never meant to be the prime political motivation for bidding to be the host city. Winning the Games was, as the then mayor Ken Livingstone put it,
“the only way to get billions of pounds out of the Government to develop the East End”.
After a century of decline and decades of successive Governments’ ambivalence to the plight of those people, billions of pounds were poured into the East End—and what a difference they have made. They have transformed a blighted post-industrial desert into a blooming 560-acre park enjoyed by 8 million visitors to date.
Despite the fears of the doomsayers, there are precious few white elephants on the site. The press and broadcast centre has found anchor tenants and a legacy use as a state-of-the-art digital campus. The velopark, aquatics centre and Copper Box have been successfully transformed for long-term sporting use, while the stadium is well on its way to providing a new home for West Ham United—albeit at a hefty conversion cost to the taxpayer. Next month, the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre will host the Wheelchair Tennis Masters, bringing together the world’s elite wheelchair tennis players for their end-of-season final. Both the venue and the fact that four British players have qualified for the event amply demonstrate the legacy benefits of accessible and affordable sporting facilities in the heart of the East End that can also host world-class events.
The careful pricing of access to those venues in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park may have gone some way to allay the suspicion expressed to me before the Games by a young man at a nearby youth club. He said, “When this is all over, everything will go to the toffs and we will be left looking through the window”. Those suspicions cannot be dismissed when it comes to housing and jobs, without which a new swimming pool, cycle track and tennis courts are of little use. We were promised that the most enduring legacy of the Olympics would be the regeneration of an entire community for,
“the direct benefit of everyone who lives there”.
Yet the promises made in the bid document presented to the IOC in Singapore have already been undercut. The original pledge that 50% of new housing in the park would be affordable homes for rent and sale was initially downgraded to 35%. As the noble Lord, Lord Harris, has just said, it has now been downgraded even further to 31%. So new homes are being built and the athletes’ village converted into rental apartments, but precious few of them will be within the grasp of local residents.
In East Village—the new name for the athletes’ village—the cheapest available two-bedroom apartment costs £430 a week. That is the entire net median household income in Newham. At £575 per week, a three-bedroom apartment costs more than the median household income in the surrounding boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Newham. A local family with two children might reasonably conclude that they have more chance of winning gold at the Rio Games than affording an apartment in the Olympic park.
My second concern is jobs for local people. They were promised that they would get “many” of the 10,000 new jobs originally forecast to arrive in the area. That loose definition should have been a clue to the vagueness of the promise and the paucity of data collected to measure its delivery. The bid pledged to transform the lives of long-term local residents—the people who had had to put up with years of disruption while the area was being prepared for the Olympics. Yet people are being counted as local at the moment, regardless of how long they have lived in the area—all they need to do is to provide a local address. This is not what was promised.
Similarly, it is difficult to see how the original target of getting 70,000 previously unemployed people into jobs can be measured because there is no system whatsoever in place to collect data about the long-term unemployed. A suspicious mind might suggest this lack of enthusiasm to measure success indicates an expectation of failure. If some of the badly-needed homes planned for the park are to come within the reach of existing local residents, they must have access to, and training for, those new jobs that will be based in and around the park.
Like the young man I met at the youth club, my fear has long been that the legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games might well be a fantastic, vibrant new quarter for London, but one which gleamed like a prosperous oasis in the midst of a deprived desert. We cannot and must not allow that to happen. I know that the London Legacy Development Corporation and local government in all the growth boroughs will strive hard to ensure that regeneration brings real benefit to local people. However, they must be long-term local people, not people who have just moved into the area to get a very nice house on their doorstep.
Delivering the promises made to the people of east London will be not a marathon but a triathlon. Success requires that the next Mayor of London and the Government remain sharply focused on the finish line so that the long-term residents of the area are not left outside, looking in.
My Lords, I am particularly pleased to speak in this debate. If noble Lords saw my full title the secret would be revealed—it is Lord Cashman, of Limehouse. Limehouse is where I was born and is where I now live. My family lived in Stepney, I went to school in Bow and Poplar, cavorted in Stratford, and my families are buried in the cemeteries of east London. I know it well. Since the 1950s I have seen the amazing changes. However, in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s—and yes, even into the 1980s—those communities thrived because there was employment. There was a sense of ownership of the wider community in which you lived.
Of course, I witnessed the London Docklands Development Corporation. If you were local, when you were offered a flat on the Isle of Dogs you always refused, because there was nothing to do after 7 o’clock at night and if you got what was called a “bridger” you could not get to work in the morning. Look now at what has happened there because of determination and imagination. Again, I look at Wapping and at other parts of the island, where people used not to want to live; indeed, at times it was not a safe place to live.
When I think of Stratford itself, were they not amazing, those pioneers who had the courage to speak out and defend something when others wanted to get rid of it? Joan Littlewood and Gerry Raffles saw the amazing potential of the people of Stratford and Stratford East and built that shrine to culture and the arts for local people, the Theatre Royal Stratford East.
I will come to some of my concerns, but I congratulate and thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for his determination, imagination and courage in seeing through a dream which for many had been unimaginable. The six London boroughs were among the poorest and most deprived in London, and perhaps still are, so the ambitions and aspirations for the regeneration were and remain laudable. Yet, despite the Prime Minister’s words in 2010, east London and, more importantly, its people have not shared fully in the capital’s growth and prosperity—not in the local growth and prosperity.
For the avoidance of any doubt, let me state that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were an outstanding success and a deeply humbling experience, as the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, said, as is the legacy of regeneration. Therefore I will not be mean-spirited. I believe in celebrating those who try, aspire and reach for the sky, especially for the benefit of others—as this House has shown so very recently.
The reason I am going to raise concerns is that I believe there is still an opportunity and a timeframe within which to address these concerns, and thus ensure that the people of east London—that is, all who live and work there—truly benefit from the inward investment and developments. The convergence strategy referred to before will need revisiting if it is to deliver on jobs, skills, housing and quality of life. As has been said, it is of deep concern that the progress made has now been lost, particularly in relation to jobs, which are now back at the levels of 2009 according to the documents lodged in our Library.
We need to address urgently the low number of apprenticeships, of which there have been only 124 at work in the park since 2012. We can and must do better. The new convergence strategy and action plan must be regularly reviewed and adapted if necessary to ensure that it delivers on new job creation.
As noble Lords have said, it is lamentable that the huge financial investment in Stratford International station has not paid off. I know that we cannot force international operators to use the facilities, but we can have imagination and flair in promoting them to international operators, as well as work with national carriers to exploit the economic opportunities.
I come to my main area of concern, and that is housing. As the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, rightly said, the centre of London is moving further to the east, and that has consequences. People like me who live locally in the six boroughs, particularly in the private rented sector and in social housing, are under increasing threat as they see a diminishing supply of social housing or privately rented accommodation at affordable rents. People are literally having to move away from where they were born or grew up or work, and often away from their communities where they feel that they belong. I am saddened to say that this is due to the regeneration and its success, and a lack of focus on a stronger mixed-housing development policy.
Allocations of affordable and social housing, as your Lordships have indicated, are not increasing on the site but diminishing. From a starting point in the East Village of 49% for affordable housing, current plans on the other sites are now in the region of 30% to 31% and even as low as 28%. That is entirely unacceptable, particularly when not all allocations have gone to people who live and have lived locally. These levels must be increased, with an emphasis on the social rented sector; otherwise, the opportunity of a generation will be lost. Because of its success people now want to live in and around the regeneration areas, and not only in the Olympic Park sites. We are witnessing rent increases in the private sector, diminishing social housing, an increase in house prices and a subsequent increase in land prices, resulting in further pressures on local communities.
The land grab has extended all the way towards the City of London, at Aldgate. There is the controversy of the Cass sites, acquired by the Department of Education and dubbed the “Aldgate Bauhaus”, which are now likely to be destroyed and lost. Elsewhere in Tower Hamlets, an area that I know well, I have deep concerns about the effects of two particular developments on the housing needs of local people, and the damage that these will cause to diverse and cohesive communities.
The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, referred to the work undertaken by Poplar HARCA and it is to HARCA that I now wish to refer. The redevelopment of the Chrisp Street site in Poplar will see a large reduction in the numbers of social housing units and a large increase in units for private sale or rent. Especially worrying is the proposed development of the Balfron Tower in St Leonard’s Road, Poplar. The key issue there is that the tower was built and designed as social housing, and maintained as majority social housing even after the right to buy. The estate and property have been poorly maintained, despite leaseholders paying several thousands of pounds per flat per year in service charges.
There has been incredibly poor communication with, and an incredibly poor attitude towards, tenants and leaseholders from the current landlord Poplar HARCA over the decant and refurbishment, with changing plans, the insidious decanting of tenants, years of delay and an eventual declaration that Balfron Tower would be 100% privatised. The need to provide affordable accommodation for all the community is essential. Tower Hamlets has always prided itself on being a diverse and inclusive borough. Might I suggest that social cleansing in this way is the antithesis of that?
The social landlord Poplar HARCA has finally submitted plans to refurbish the 146 homes at Balfron Tower in Poplar, which it promised to do when it took over the management of the block in 2007. However, instead of the refurbished flats being returned to former social tenants, they will now be sold off as luxury apartments on the private market. As I said earlier, there will be a loss of 99 social homes—at least 99, as 11 flats were declared void during the stock transfer in 2007—despite HARCA’s boss, Steve Stride, claiming that no development should see a loss of social housing.
The history of this site and the tower embodies what the architect set out to do. Ernö Goldfinger specifically designed the block to give tenants on low incomes a decent standard of living. Sadly, HARCA now deems the flats to be too valuable for the local community. Tenants and leaseholders have demanded that Balfron stays at least 50% social. I do not consider that to be too vigorous a demand. They have many objections but I will list them briefly: a failure to meet statutory affordable housing targets; a failure to meet best practice guidelines on inclusive consultation; a failure to meet adopted standards defining heritage significance, because the tower has now been registered as grade 2 listed; and a failure to meet best practice guidelines on accountable regeneration, which it is worth restating. The regeneration consultation documents promised that,
“no resident will lose their home involuntarily”,
“there will be no loss of homes for rent on the Brownfield Estate”.
For the people at Poplar HARCA, and in particular at those two developments, that is not the reality.
I want to go back to how I started and congratulate those who had the courage, determination and imagination to proceed, and to celebrate the amazing Olympic and Paralympic Games, which gave us enormous pride in what we can do and what we can achieve with and for others. That is what I expect of the regeneration of the six boroughs and the sites beyond—the so-called domino effect.
I have cited two cases where things are plainly going wrong but, sadly, there are others, and in other boroughs. The regeneration throughout the six boroughs has transformed an area of London once, as I know only too well, overlooked and left behind. However, we must ensure that the ongoing regeneration does not leave behind or remove the local communities and the local people, who, above all, should benefit from and enjoy the fruits of development. Those fruits of development are theirs, or we have failed.
My Lords, the noble Lord mentioned provision of the arts, for example, for deprived people in the East End. Perhaps I may invite him to recognise and applaud what I think is a very important development. Mudchute is an inner-city farm where children who have never seen farm animals can experience what it is like to be close up to these creatures. It is the result of the amazingly civilised vision of Michael Barraclough and is now run by local people. I invite the noble Lord to endorse the work of Mudchute.
My Lords, I take great delight in endorsing it. As a child who rarely used a handkerchief—I am trying to give you a picture—I played at the Mudchutes, because it was famous for newts. I am pleased to say that the development of and emphasis on culture, arts and the local environment are to be applauded and replicated elsewhere. Rest assured that, although I may not be jumping on the Docklands Light Railway, I will be walking from my home in Limehouse to the Mudchute to give it my imprimatur.
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for securing this important debate on the regeneration of east London following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and members of the committee on the Olympic and Paralympic legacy in your Lordships’ House, who play such an important role in analysing and closely scrutinising how we can maximise the fruits of the Games. Like other noble Lords, I also pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for the work he has done in east London for many years.
First, I declare that I am an elected councillor in Lewisham in south-east London. We did not get any of the Olympic Games events, but considerable use was made of Blackheath for security measures. The missiles were there, as were other ancillary and support services. We were grateful that we could play a part in making sure the Games were great. The regeneration of east London and south-east London, where I live, is of paramount importance to the whole of the capital and its role as the powerhouse for the whole of the United Kingdom. Looking back, the Olympics were, as other noble Lords have said, outstandingly successful and a moment in British history which we can all be very proud of. I agree with my noble friend Lord Harris of Haringey that the regeneration legacy is of paramount importance. When we look back in years to come, it will be seen as one of the real successes of the London Games, compared to those in other parts of the world.
When the Games were first secured in 2007, one of the five main themes was to create an environment which would benefit the community through regeneration. The Games were, therefore, purposely sited in east London, across the six boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. These areas have typically suffered high unemployment, deprivation and a lack of opportunity. Three years on from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, statistics show that the regeneration of east London has moved forward, but not always in the way we expected. In the whole of London, the three boroughs with the highest unemployment rates are still in east London: Barking and Dagenham, with 9.8%; Tower Hamlets, with 8.8%; and Newham, with 8.6%. Barking and Dagenham has the highest unemployment rate of any London borough, with 27% of residents earning below the London living wage. One quarter of young people in the area live in households receiving tax credits.
The London Plan, published in 2015 by the Mayor of London, promises to,
“close the deprivation gap between the Olympic host boroughs and the rest of London. This will be London’s single most important regeneration project for the next 25 years. It will sustain existing stable communities and promote local economic investment to create job opportunities (especially for young people), driven by community engagement”.
We can all agree with that. Given that the unemployment statistics are not so encouraging, can the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Rolfe, tell us what the Government are doing to ameliorate the situation? The House of Lords committee noted that where jobs are being created, local residents were not benefiting in all cases. Is this because job opportunities are not being communicated enough locally, or because local residents do not have the skills to take on these jobs? What steps are the Government taking to ensure more local residents are aware of job opportunities? In addition, what evidence is there to show that the London Legacy Development Corporation’s funding to local authorities to develop the necessary skills has resulted in more jobs being taken up by local people?
The new cultural and educational complex in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, is an exciting initiative. It is important, again, that local people benefit from the 3,000 jobs which are expected to be created. Will the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Rolfe, tell the House what the Government are doing to ensure that local people get their fair share of these? The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, is right when he says that we need a new convergence strategy to deliver jobs for local people in the six Olympic boroughs. I also completely agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, who spoke about the transformation of the Olympic park and the world-class facilities we have there today. I also agree with her comments about the failure of local people to secure the jobs that have been created.
The Olympic Delivery Authority, which oversees the development of the Olympic park into residential accommodation, struck a deal in August 2011 to sell 51% of the site to developers of private rental accommodation, and the remaining 49% to Triathlon Homes to deliver affordable housing. In addition, the most recent deal struck with Balfour Beatty involves building up to 1,500 homes, including 450 affordable homes. Building new homes is always welcome and will contribute to improving the housing situation in London; but in the last three years, homes have been sold under the right-to-buy scheme, with only one home replaced for every four sold. Can the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Rolfe, update us on what plans the Government have to ensure that the area remains one of mixed tenures, and to guarantee that any homes sold under the right to buy are replaced on a one-for-one basis? We keep hearing a lot about this from the Government, but so far the figures do not add up.
The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, referred to the number of affordable homes planned for the area in his opening remarks, as did my noble friend Lord Cashman. I am in complete agreement with my noble friend’s remarks about the challenges of ensuring that local people benefit from local housing. The noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, also made remarks that I agree with, particularly those relating to the downgrading of the social housing element of future schemes. There is a huge problem here with this notion of affordable homes as they can often be anything but affordable to local people on lower incomes.
I would like to briefly mention the Orbit, to which the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, also referred. The Government’s 2015 progress report describes it as a “unique attraction” in east London, providing,
“spectacular views and a number of extremely popular events”.
However, recent reports from last month show that this attraction is actually losing £10,000 a week and lost more than £500,000 last year due to visitor figures falling well below the forecasted numbers. Given that this was built with over £3 million of taxpayers’ money, what are the Government doing to increase the number of visitors to the Orbit and to improve its failing finances?
Transport infrastructure has improved considerably in recent years in east London: the DLR, the Jubilee line, and improved road connectivity as well. The bullet train between St Pancras and Stratford International was a great success during the games, as was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, my noble friend Lord Harris of Haringey and others, although it is a matter of great disappointment that we still do not have any international train services operating out of Stratford International station, despite there being over £1 billion of public investment in the international train station. That is a staggering figure and still we have no international train services coming in or out of the station. It would be useful if the Minister could comment on the view from the Lords committee, which did not get the sense that there was any overarching ownership or co-ordination of this issue with the Government. The Government—and in particular the Department for Transport—really need to get a grip of this issue and actually deliver international train services to and from the station. I do not accept that this is just a commercial matter for the operators alone. As the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, said, it will be a catalyst for further regeneration of the area.
Finally, I again thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for securing this debate. It was a timely opportunity to look again at the regeneration of this part of London and what has happened since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. There has been some excellent work undertaken, but there have also been some disappointments. The real measure will be when we look back in 10, 15 or 20 years’ time and see what has been achieved and what the real legacy of the Games is. For the goals of the legacy as originally perceived to have been delivered, the people living in the six Olympic boroughs really need to have benefited and shared in the opportunities of the Games.
My Lords, I begin by thanking the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for initiating this debate, for his thoughtful and fascinating speech this afternoon, and for his magnificent work on East London regeneration. I also thank my noble friend Lord Moynihan in the same way; the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, bringing her perspective; the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, and the others involved on the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Committee. It is a typical example of something that this House does very well indeed. I also thank the other noble Lords who have contributed to this fascinating and wide-ranging debate.
I will try to answer some of the points that have been raised, but if I am not able to do so, I will write to noble Lords. I also share in the tributes that have been made to some outside the Chamber. In particular, I include Sir John Armitt and his team, who factored long-term, lasting regeneration into the Olympic project. That is one of the lessons. At the end I will try to respond to the A-level set for me only an hour or two ago by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson.
The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which took place in east London, were a huge success. It was a euphoric summer, not only because of the incredible atmosphere and the best ever performance by our British athletes, as inspiring as those were. The Games were delivered jointly by a range of agencies, national and local, public and private. The delivery of the Games was only a success because of the spirit of partnership that prevailed.
The noble Lord, Lord Cashman, of Limehouse, took us on an amazing journey via Theatre Royal Stratford East, which I also like very much. I add that Canary Wharf, close to the Olympic park, is perhaps now the most vibrant financial centre in the world. I have visited an awful lot of them in my business career. I was there recently, at 8.15 in the morning, to speak at the launch of the report by the noble Lord, Lord Davies, on women on boards. The numbers coming off the Jubilee line were extraordinary. They were buying poppies from a British Legion band playing that morning to all of us as we arrived. It is an amazing centre, a biscuit-toss from the park.
I was also very interested in the points made on health, on obesity, on jobs, and on the whole issue of convergence in the east London area. I am not sure that I have an answer to all those points today, but it is very good that the debate widened into some of those areas.
The 2012 Games’ legacy has been acclaimed by Jacques Rogge, the former president of the International Olympic Committee, as a blueprint for future Games. Some 1.4 million more people are playing sport than when we won the bid in 2005 and the UK has benefited to the tune of more than £14 billion in trade and investment. All eight permanent venues on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park have a secure future. As the noble Lord, Lord Mawson said, millions and millions of visitors have enjoyed the park since it was reopened after the Games. Other Olympic parks elsewhere do not have nearly such an impressive record.
Government and other public sector investment has been the catalyst for the development of this corner of east London. The private sector is taking up the opportunities and driving further development. New communities are now growing in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. More than 4,500 people live at East Village, in the former athletes’ village. Contrary to what the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, said, half of this housing is affordable. There is a new school, Chobham Academy, and a medical centre, the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Health and Wellbeing Centre, in the park. People will start moving into the first new housing in the park at Chobham Manor later this year, to be followed by other new neighbourhoods in the years and decades to come.
There are employment opportunities. In all, it is expected that 15,000 jobs will be created in the park by 2025. Here East, the media centre during the Games, was mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey. It is being transformed into a huge digital campus, bringing together business, technology, media, education and data. It will deliver more than 7,500 jobs, including 5,300 directly onsite and a further 2,200 in the local community. Here East is more than 40% let and BT Sport is already operating from the venue. Tenants, including Loughborough University and Hackney Community College, are moving on to the site and Here East will fully open in Spring 2016.
As the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, said, Westfield Stratford City is the biggest urban shopping mall in northern Europe, with 40 million visitors a year. It has provided around 10,500 permanent jobs. There will be more employment opportunities with Olympicopolis, which, as has been said, is bigger than the Pompidou Centre in Paris. That is the cultural and academic quarter of the park—which we should emphasise: this is not just about sport. The Government have committed funding to catalyse this new and exciting development, providing £141 million. The Victoria and Albert Museum —a great favourite of mine—Sadler’s Wells and, I hope, the Smithsonian will all have a presence there, as will academic institutions including University College London and University of the Arts London. Stratford has been turned into one of the best-connected areas of London thanks to the investment in the run-up to the Games, with the Jubilee line, the Javelin service to St Pancras and the Docklands Light Railway.
The first question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, was indeed about Stratford International station. Noble Lords piled in behind—everyone mentioned this. I shall not name everyone since it was a common theme. The great wish is that Eurostar services should call there as part of their cross-channel routes, bringing more business, more tourists and more convenience. As has been said, this is a matter for Eurostar as a commercial company. However, today’s debate has provided an opportunity to publicise the desirability of that—the power of amplification, as I call it. I shall report to ministerial colleagues in the Department for Transport on the strength of feeling in the House on this issue and on the opportunities that have been described, especially once Crossrail arrives at Stratford in, I think, 2018 or 2019.
My noble friend Lord Moynihan waxed lyrical on the subject and on a host of other points. I shall take up his suggestion of a letter to respond to most of them. My noble friend is an expert parliamentarian. I think that it is the discipline of the cox—every time, he finds an amazing way to move things forward. He makes a virtue of a long shopping list by suggesting a letter—another elegant parliamentary device that we can add to the annals. I agree with him that the Active People survey needs substantial change. Sport England has this in hand and a new methodology will be introduced in 2016. Polling based on landlines is bound to understate participation in sport. Young people mainly use mobiles and the internet, so it is not right that our data derive from landline polling.
My noble friend also expressed regret at the absence of a GB women’s football team in Rio in 2016. I share his disappointment. However, FIFA requires agreement of all the home nations for a British team to compete. The other home nations remain concerned that FIFA could see a British team at the Games as a reason to question the validity of having separate national teams in world competitions.
I thank the Minister very much for giving way. It would be helpful to the House if the Minister could ask the British Olympic Association to publish the letter from FIFA that set out those requirements, given that the International Olympic Committee does not require home nation agreement for the national Olympic committee to select a team for Team GB. If that letter could be published it would be helpful.
My Lords, it is not my letter but I will certainly take that point away. The time to look at this again—2016 is nearly upon us—is ahead of the 2020 Games, by which time I think we all hope that FIFA will have been reformed. I make a strategic pause here. But, obviously, that is my greatest wish and, I think, the greatest wish of many others in the House.
Returning to today’s debate, I think we can be rightly proud of the investment made by successive Governments and the subsequent effects this has had. It was rightly lauded by the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey. UK Trade & Investment figures covering the whole of London, which were boosted by the British Business Embassy at Lancaster House, show that there were 796 investment projects in London in 2014-15, creating more than 21,000 new jobs and safeguarding a further 2,500.
The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, asked about the lessons learned for the wider area of east London and for projects elsewhere such as the northern powerhouse. Major events, sporting or otherwise, provide a catalyst for regeneration of deprived areas and wider economic growth, including through trade and investment. We have seen this not only in the East End of London but also in Manchester and Glasgow, with their staging of the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and 2014 respectively.
What else have we concluded from our debate today? We have a dedicated legacy body, high-quality personnel, leaders, management, support for local stakeholders, work on jobs and skills and apprentices so that the employment opportunities, some of which I have described, take off and are sustained. Partnership working, involving local communities through consultation and end-users, is important. My noble friend Lord Moynihan talked of the disability legacy of the Paralympics in terms of both vision and design. That is another lesson that we have learned from this great project.
The noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, talked about—if I may summarise him—focus and being joined-up. I think that we can all agree with that objective. There are obviously differences of detail. He suggested a single Minister and a single unit in the mayor’s office and talked about the role of local government. But I think that the theme—I am not putting words in his mouth—of focus and being joined-up is important. As he said, ensuring that the legacy extends beyond the area and beyond the Parliament is very important. These are long-term things, which is why cross-party working is so important. We had this over the Olympics. I think it was one of the reasons for its success and I am sorry that today’s debate drifted at times too far into party politics.
That brings me to housing, which is another area where we need to learn lessons from these projects. The Government have done their bit in relation to the former athletes’ village, as I mentioned. I accept that the proportion of affordable housing in other developments and in other areas, including some in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is lower. The latter issue is a matter for the mayor and the London Legacy Development Corporation. The Government remain keen to see vibrant new communities in east London with a healthy mix of housing. I will reflect on the comments and look into the specific points, including those made by the noble Lord, Lord Cashman, of Limehouse, because that was helpful feedback. I will talk to the Department for Communities and Local Government. I thank him for his comments.
I am delighted that the park is supporting the Government’s apprenticeship programme. The numbers are not huge—124 apprenticeships since the Games, including at the stadium, Here East, Chobham Manor and the venues, but 88% of these have gone to local people. That is how it should be. Last year, more than 600 local residents received specialist construction training as part of the wider construction programme taking place on the park.
How does the Minister define local people? Is anybody who has an address now defined as local, as I said in my speech? The bid document and all the promises that were made in the run-up to and at the Olympics defined local people as long-term residents of those areas, which were seriously deprived.
My Lords, I do not know the answer to that question. I will come back to the noble Baroness. The point I am trying to make is that local is important. We can argue about definitions, but we want to use these great regeneration opportunities, both here and, in future, in other parts of the UK, to help local people get employment. I think there is a certain amount of agreement about that. In September 2014, 66% of the workforce across the venues and in estates and facilities management were local residents—which we will, of course, define. Employment will also be helped by the use of the venues. The Rugby World Cup was amazing, it was wonderful to see it on our screens, and it is great that West Ham and UK Athletics are using the park. My noble friend Lady Brady is vice-chairman of West Ham.
Finally, I come back to the regeneration of east London. The development is based around marvellous sporting venues on the park, which are available for community and elite use. A swim in the pool where Michael Phelps won his record 18th gold medal costs under a fiver—what a great way to spend one’s time—and it will help our sports participation figures, because, as noble Lords know, swimming has gone backwards. The Lee Valley VeloPark opened in March 2014 and is the finest cycling hub in the world, with the iconic velodrome at its heart. It is the only place on earth to offer the four Olympic cycling disciplines: track in the velodrome, BMX on a modified version of the Olympic track, road cycling on a new one-mile circuit and mountain biking on challenging new trails, watched—a lot—by my very masculine family; a husband and four boys.
My time has nearly run out. I will write to noble Lords whose questions I have not been able to answer this evening.
It was a general remark, as I think the noble Lord will find when he reviews the debate. On housing, I agree that we should try to move forward in a non-party way if we can. I am sure that there are party elements, but I was not, in any event, referring to any of the points he was making on housing —housing followed next on my list. I was trying to respond to the challenge identified by the noble Lord who so kindly brought us this debate today: what are the lessons? I look forward to hearing other answers to that excellent question, which has given us so much food for thought.
I conclude by thanking the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for giving us the opportunity to have this debate. It has certainly been very enlightening to me and I look forward to what, I am sure, will be a brighter future for this wonderful area, thanks to the legacy of the London Olympics.
May I ask for one point of clarification? The Minister said that there will be 50% affordable housing. The Olympic bid document said that the park will have 50% affordable housing. The point I was making is that the figures I have from the London Legacy Development Corporation are that 28% will be provided in the first tranche and 30% in the second tranche. I am not clear where the 50% came from and it would be very helpful if the Minister would explain.
My Lords, I thank all those who have taken part in this debate, particularly those in the Chamber who have made such a major contribution through the Games to the regeneration of east London. We are very thankful for that and I give many thanks for the kind remarks from colleagues. We all know that it has been quite a journey.
I will make one or two comments. On the employment gap, there is a limit to what one can say in a speech, but perhaps I might draw people’s attention to a speech that I made in this Chamber a couple of weeks ago on apprenticeships and some of the work we have been doing on that. There is a lot more to do. Across the road the Bromley by Bow Centre, which I founded, has 60 local businesses operating around the park. The science summer school is all about this agenda. I would draw attention to the work of Sir Robin Wales, the Labour Mayor of Newham, who has been absolutely consistent about this point and made a major contribution.
I welcome very much colleagues’ support for Stratford International station, as I do the Minister’s comments. I encourage her to speak to the noble Lords, Lord Heseltine and Lord Deben, who were personally responsible for ensuring that that platform appeared in Stratford.
I have given some of the numbers on local community involvement in the park. I was actually at a party at Here East last night, which is just opening its first piece of that building with a fantastic local event and a reception. There is a very big event tonight in the stadium with the noble Baroness, Lady Brady, and others, which is focused on the Olympicopolis. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, that we may need 10 years to make a proper judgment about these big things. They take time.
We understand well the needs of long-term residents in the area. We focus closely on them and it is very good that the staff at the legacy company are people from the area, who have worked practically on these issues to deliver real things over a very long period. I will ask the chief executive of Poplar HARCA—which, just so we understand the history here, is a local resident-controlled housing company—to write to the noble Lord setting out why it is today committed to creating mixed communities and what the practical realities are in doing this in Poplar today. I would be very happy to share with the Minister my experience of this company, which I have been involved with for over 20 years.
Successive Governments have played their part in giving the people of east London the necessary cross-party support that created the essential conditions and continuity necessary to trigger changes on this scale. The job is not finished, and there is more to do, but the die is set and we welcome anyone who wants to invest or bring their institutions east. It is where the future economy of London lies.
I hope that this Government will share the lessons learnt with other regions of the country as they rightly invest large amounts of taxpayers’ money in the north of England. Britain’s economy today is on the move and we in east London want once again to play our role as a central driver in the capital city, focused on innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship—attributes that set this nation apart from the rest of the world. We are absolutely committed to local people being part of all of that. We have in east London the largest artistic community outside New York. We have global brands moving in. What we need now is clarity and focus within central government to see the bigger picture in the Lower Lea Valley, join the dots and make the connection in the narrative that tells about the Olympic Park and the surrounding area. Today, east London is on the move and we are ready and up for the task.
House adjourned at 4.38 pm.