29 October 2004
London's Olympic bid team must work harder to ensure the city enjoys a lasting legacy if it hosts the 2012 Games, two think-tanks have warned.
A joint report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research and Demos reminds London 2012 that previous host cities have ignored legacy considerations when bidding for the Olympics, only to encounter financial troubles, or fail to use facilities, once the event has finished.
After the gold rush, published on October 25, says London has made an early start on key issues by appointing a legacy board. But it adds that 'a lot more work will need to be done to capture lasting benefit'.
Past Games, such as Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, failed to live up to bold promises of long-term employment, social housing commitments, improved transport, increased sports participation and more tourists, the report claims.
Many facilities in Sydney are now empty, but running costs have reached £23m per year.
London must learn from Barcelona, the host city in 1992, which delivered lasting social and economic regeneration through advanced planning, the think-tanks say.
Report authors, Anthony Vigor (IPPR) and Melissa Mean (Demos), recommend that 'street Olympics' are staged across Britain to promote participation in sports.
Other suggestions include an Olympic Employment Taskforce to match local work needs with skills programmes for the unemployed, and the early building of facilities to promote better public health in the five councils affected by the bid.
Mean said: 'A common Olympic disease is “white elephantitis”. It looks as if London 2012 has taken the necessary precautions against this, but a sustainable legacy must mean more than just avoiding building facilities that have no post-Games use.'
Culture, Media and Sports Secretary Tessa Jowell said she was confident London had 'put legacy planning at the heart of its bid'.