To move that this House takes note of the role of communities, the arts and creative industries in delivering a lasting legacy to the Olympics, and of the lessons that can be learnt more broadly.
My Lords, as we enter 2013 we are all conscious that we will remember 2012 as the year of the Olympics and Paralympics, and be thankful for the many men and women from across this country who came together and made the Games the world-
There is no doubt that the Games accelerated public and private sector investment in east London and inspired a generation of young people and adults. There is a great deal to build on, but to ensure that this positive impact is sustained and to stop our legacy from being the white elephant that it has become for many previous host countries, we now need to focus.
Over the past year, politicians and the media have shown us a carefully co-
The first thing to say is that for those of us who live and work in the lower Lea Valley, the Olympics are not and never have been the biggest show in town. The Games acted as a very important catalyst and we have hailed them as a significant milestone half way through a 50-
Today, a new city-
The scale of international investment in the lower Lea Valley is truly staggering. Ten minutes on the Jubilee line will take you to the Westfield shopping centre, which has had more than 48 million visitors since it opened. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a stone’s throw to the north-
Many of us locally call this colossus Water City because of the 6.5 miles of river and canals that surround London Docklands and connect the many pieces of this regeneration jigsaw. Water has driven our economy from the heart of the lower Lea Valley for over a thousand years. The time has come to capture the glorious history of east London’s trading past and to build a new city fit for the future, a city not defined by poverty and dependency, as in east London’s recent past, but by human endeavour and entrepreneurial spirit. We are in the moment: the biggest opportunity which we all must now grasp is to change east London for ever. The question is, how?
A clue lies in the £1 billion regeneration programme of work in Poplar where ground-
For those of us living and working in the lower Lea Valley, the big story for us-
So, how do we similarly turn the rhetoric of legacy into reality? What needs to happen now to maximise this legacy opportunity and grasp the moment? First, we must start with the people and the place, not with the policy or strategy. The Olympics showcased what can be achieved when this latent energy and talent is harnessed. In my experience, communities and places often reinvent themselves organically from within, and the good news is that the conditions are now right: many local leaders and entrepreneurs are up for this journey in east London. There exists in east London a real opportunity for innovation: to explore, for example, on the first Olympic village what those key words in the Health and Social Care Act “enterprise”, “innovation” and “integration” might actually mean in practice. How do we explore them, and how do we prevent the procurement rules preventing us from doing innovation?
Secondly, we must now take the long-
We all need to continue to focus hard on attracting business to the area. We need to get the international train stopping at Stratford station; we need to get a proper Thames crossing in place, a tunnel and a bridge; and we need to invest in new schools, university technical colleges and higher education institutions that will enable young east Londoners to grab hold of opportunity. In particular, getting University College London to Stratford will be another game changer for east London.
Thirdly, did you know that the lower Lea Valley is home to the largest artistic and creative community outside New York? I still fail to understand why the BBC did not decide to move a key component of its operation into the middle of this dynamic environment. The noble Baroness, Lady Ford, did so much to try and make this happen, but maybe my noble friend Lord Hall can revisit this opportunity as he takes the wheel of the BBC this year. This is a fantastic opportunity for a key cultural institution to have a base in this new and emerging dynamic area of London. Stop looking west: start looking east.
Fourthly, organic growth and partnership working is key to innovation. If the five Olympic villages are to become thriving and enterprising communities, and not just another group of soulless east London housing estates, then the public sector needs to see this new city landscape as a real opportunity to innovate and experiment on many fronts. It is not the public sector’s job to do everything for us, but it is its job to create enabling conditions.
A key component of the future of the lower Lea Valley is going to be science and technology, just as the valley was in the past the birthplace of modern biotechnology and the place where plastics, petrol refining and bone china were invented, and where perfumes, rockets and airplanes were developed. One project I am working on with Professor Brian Cox-
There are concerns locally as we look forward as colleagues in the public, business and social enterprise sectors. Will large public sector bodies, which have a track record of missing opportunities in east London and messing up on the detail, kill the entrepreneurial spirit that is in east London today? We worry in the midst of this opportunity that government will not learn the lessons of what actually works on the ground and build on them, but that along the way-
Over the past three years I have chaired the All-
I hear lots of politicians quoting numbers and statistics on social housing and the like when they talk about legacy. That is all very well, but as those of us who live, work and have to build buildings there know, the key task now is to build sustainable communities which are defined not by ticking boxes but by diversity-
Communities are about people like Leanne Doig. Leanne is a 20 year-
“I want to own my own Company and have loads and loads of women working for me”.
She also says:
“I’ve been brought up here my whole life and all people ever do is look down on east London … to have the Park will change things because it will give everyone a chance”.
That is the spirit of young east Londoners that we must encourage. Leanne is a young woman who is excited about her part of town. She has spotted the opportunities that the changes in east London are creating for her and her peers, and is grabbing them with both hands with energy and entrepreneurial intent. She understands that the route to equal opportunities is through practical hard work and inspiration. Is that not what the Games were all about? Why should regeneration be anything different? My question to the Minister is: what are the Government now going to do to help us grab hold of this bigger picture in the lower Lea Valley, to connect the dots and to learn from this new city rising like a phoenix in the East End of London?