Olympic Park affordable housing could be less than a third of promised 50 per cent target

Chobham Manor Marketing Suite and Show Homes at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Newham.

Chobham Manor Marketing Suite and Show Homes at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Newham. - Credit: Archant

A row has broken out over claims Olympic legacy chiefs are failing to hit targets for affordable housing on the London 2012 site.

Bosses at the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) are confident they will achieve a target of a “third of affordable housing across all five neighbourhoods”.

But critics reckon the final total could be closer to just 15 per cent across the Olympic Park despite estimates prior to London 2012 as high as 50 per cent.

Campaigners at pressure group Games Monitor reckon legacy bosses will struggle to meet their objectives having already opted for a lower 28 per cent target at the first development, called Chobham Manor.

The critics also point out the loss of housing on the original Olympic site in 2007 due to a compulsory purchase order has not been taken into account – skewing the overall picture of what has been achieved for local people.

The argument comes just eight months after London mayor Boris Johnson admitted fewer homes would be built on the site overall and a smaller than promised percentage would be affordable.

Mr Johnson said the shortfall was a “price well worth paying” if other forms of regeneration led to more jobs and economic activity at the Olympic Park.

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Meanwhile plans to build a cultural centre at the site in Stratford mean the loss of around 1,000 new homes out of an original plan for 7,000.

Julian Cheyne from Games Monitor said: “With the earlier demolition of housing the actual percentage of so-called ‘affordable’ housing is closer to 15 per cent and with further losses for viability could go even lower.

“The reality is the Olympic Park would have seen the building of as much if not more new housing without the Olympics and existing local jobs and housing would have been retained, whereas new ‘legacy’ jobs and housing will, for the most part, go, as predicted, to a new population.”

But legacy bosses hit back at the criticisms citing the “jobs” and “economic benefits” the Olympic legacy had brought.

A London Legacy Development Corporation spokesman said: “We set ourselves challenging targets with regards to affordable housing but are confident we will reach them.

“As well as building much needed housing, we are bringing jobs and economic benefit to east London.

“With over three million visits to the park since we opened and our plans for a new educational and cultural quarter with the V&A and UCL taking shape, we are creating a new part of the city. These five neighbourhoods will be at its heart.”

But in a separate response the LLDC said its predictions for affordable housing targets could fall as low as 20 per cent.