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Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Planning ahead: from 2012 to 2037
So what's happening on the Olympic site now that the last fanfares have died down and the Olympic medalists have returned home? Stratford doesn’t intend to stop, shut down and sit back and spend the coming decades developing a sense of nostalgia for one single event. There are big plans for the site: a 25-year post-games masterplan, to be precise.
The 500-acre Olympic Park will re-open fully in April 2014 as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with developments being driven forward by the London Legacy Development Corporation.
What they’ll be delivering is up to 11,000 new homes in a family-focused environment with five distinct neighbourhoods clustered around parkland and open spaces. Housing will be a mix of high density apartments (towards Stratford City, which directly adjoins the area) and lower density family homes. There will be new infrastructure, new roads, new cultural and sporting opportunities and a new high street from the north of the park to the new East Village neighbourhood, establishing a major link between Leyton and Hackney.
The first area, the North Park re-opened in July 2013 – exactly one year after the Olympics Opening Ceremony. You can visit the Timber Lodge, a community hub building set amongst acres of vibrant green parklands and footpaths, perfect for picnics and walks. Timber Lodge blends into the Park's natural landscape, and inside you can eat and drink at the Unity Kitchen Café, or sit and enjoy the sun on its outdoor terrace.
Parents can take their kids to the amazing Tumbling Bay adventure playground, with its sandpit, tree-top walkways.
Also in the North Park is the Copper Box Arena, a 7500 capacity indoor entertainment venue which hosts a range of community events, along with a yearly programme of high profile sports and concerts.The Copper Box is home to the London Lions, the newest professional basketball team in London. They play in the top flight of British Basketball. Last year in their first season they over achieved expectations by reaching the play offs.
Second to open will be the South Park in Easter 2014, which will include some of the Park’s iconic venues including the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Aquatics Centre. It will be possible to swim in the stunning Aquatics Centre, which will be adapted for everyday use including aqua-fitness classes, family swims and lane swimming; importantly, the pool will be available for use at standard local London prices – around £4 per swim!
From Summer 2014 residents and visitors will be able to access the whole Park, with new entrances opening via Westfield shopping centre and Stratford High Street.