The three branches of the RTPI London and the UK branches of the Planning Institute Australia (PIA) and New Zealand Planning (Institute) recently came together on a summers evening to celebrate our first international summer social, which was a resounding success! The event took place 10 storeys up in the offices of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) – which provided spectacular views of the Olympic Park and Canary Wharf.
The focus of the evening was on how the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is being transformed into a dynamic new heart for east London, creating opportunities for local people and driving innovation and growth. The scale of the site, combined with the fact that the majority of the site is under public ownership, has provided a unique opportunity to deliver high quality sustainable development that seeks to embed a ‘long-term vision for sustainable communities and the best practice principles of design.’
Anthony Hollingsworth, Director of Planning Policy and Decisions discussed the LLDC’s unique role as a planning authority, for an area covering the Park and parts of Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets. Anthony provided an overview of the draft Local Plan (likely to be adopted in spring 2015) covering the strategic policies setting the direction of future growth in the area in terms of housing and infrastructure along with the place-based policies for the distinct community areas.
Kathryn Firth, Chief of Design from the London Legacy Development Corporation then gave us a sterling walk-through of the transformation of the park from a design perspective. Kathryn discussed the plans for the creation of five new neighbourhoods on the Park itself, and associated infrastructure. She also highlighted some of the key design challenges that had to be overcome, such as the incorporation of existing structures, like the BBC broadcast building and large existing car parks.
On conclusion of the lively Q&A discussion, there was opportunity for attendees to soak up the panoramic sunset over the park and continue the debate over drinks and nibbles. A big thank you to the London Legacy Development for hosting this event and also Hyder and Pinsent Masons for sponsoring the night. It was clear that everyone who attended had a really great night!