Olympicopolis project being 're-scoped', LLDC confirms

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The design of Stratford’s new Cultural and Education District, formerly known as Olympicopolis, is being “re-scoped”, the London Legacy Development Corporation has confirmed.

The project is set to create new facilities for the V&A Museum, Sadler’s Wells theatre, London College of Fashion and University College London on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London.

LLDC executive director for marketing and strategy Ben Fletcher confirmed to Construction News that the design is being reviewed in anticipation of changes to the rules for tall buildings in the area.

This follows a row over the construction of Manhattan Loft Gardens, which critics have argued has spoiled the protected view of St Paul’s Cathedral from Richmond Park.

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Mr Fletcher said: “It’s largely a design and architectural issue. We are now having to just slightly re-shape our plans to make sure we’re compliant with what we anticipate will be the new rules.”

He confirmed that this involved lowering some of the heights of the buildings.

The Cultural and Education District, previously known as Olympicolopis under former mayor of London Boris Johnson, is likely to be renamed “at some point in the not-too-distant future”, Mr Fletcher said.

It is scheduled to open by the autumn of 2022.

Mr Fletcher said: “We’re very confident we’re going to hit that schedule.”

He compared the impact of the development with the 1851 Great Exhibition that led to the cluster of museums in South Kensington, as well as the 1951 Festival of Britain that spawned a cluster of cultural buildings on London’s South Bank.

“We’re not afraid of the comparison and we’re looking for something with the longevity and impact of those two sites,” he said.

Elsewhere on the Olympic Park and the surrounding area, for which the LLDC is the planning authority, Mr Fletcher called for contractors and developers to open up a dialogue with the organisation as it moves forward with further regeneration plans.

“A lot of the developments here are large-scale developments, and over the next few years that will continue,” he said.

“But to get to the quantum [of housing] that we’re looking for, we need to build relationships with smaller and medium-sized developers, because they will possibly be the kind of companies more likely to bring forward some of the schemes we need.”

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