The Olympic legacy – a park for the people, not profit?
What do you think should happen to the Olympic Park once the Games are over? Some of the planned attractions sound great, as long as the prices they’ll charge won’t break the bank.
Personally, I’d like to see the Orbit sculpture adapted to become a giant helter skelter, so you could whizz down to the ground after enjoying the view at the top. And I’m not alone, judging by the suggestions I overheard during a tour of the Park this week.
A colleague of mine who also went up the Orbit this week thought the experience was a little overpriced at £15, partly because there’s little else to do on the top floor once you’ve enjoyed the view.
I’d certainly be happier about paying £15 if there was a fun way back down to earth! So I was happy to hear this week that the people in charge of creating the legacy are hoping to reduce the fee.
Will we still pay Olympic prices?
The park itself will be free to enter, as it should be, given that the Olympics were ultimately supposed to benefit the people of east London. And it appears there will be a large number of free activities for locals, Londoners, visitors and tourists to enjoy.
I was also pleased to hear that charges to use the sporting venues once they’ve reopened in the park – to be known as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – will be tied to average charges for similar facilities nearby. For example, it’ll cost £4.35 for an adult to use the Olympic pool, and £1.75 for a child.
Given that our local pool at the other side of London costs £4 for an adult and £2.40 for a child, these prices seem very reasonable for the experience of swimming in the now famous aquatic centre.
But I hope I won’t be paying Olympic prices for the other chargeable attractions and refreshments. I could stomach paying £8.50 for fish and chips this week as it helped to pay towards the magnificent event, but if that sort of price tag continues once the park reopens, I’ll be left feeling fleeced.
A positive plan for the park
Having turned from an Olympic sceptic to an enthusiast over the past few weeks, I’m excited about returning to the remodelled park after the Games. I hope to enjoy the gardens, letting our daughter loose on the massive new children’s playground that’s been planned, and possibly catching a film on a new floating cinema.
There’ll also be a large number of concert venues, from a 6,000 capacity space in the Copper Box (host to events such as handball, goalball and fencing), to the stadium itself.
I don’t envisage any bargains on tickets as the market will set the price level. The best hope for affordable tickets may come from the competition generated by the Olympic Park venues to other nearby venues like the O2 arena.
In my view, the Olympic Park’s legacy of inspiration and goodwill will best be preserved by keeping down fees for the sports venues and events on the site. It should become a people’s park, not a park for profit. What would you like to see at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park post-Games?
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