Games legacy shift raises localism fear

Concerns have been raised over the transfer of powers to a mayoral development corporation (MDC) after the Olympic Delivery Authority ceases in 2013.

Speaking at the launch of the legacy plans for the Olympic Park last week, London mayor Boris Johnson confirmed that the Olympic Park Legacy Company is shortly going to become the MDC, giving greater flexibility over planning issues.

The company is currently owned equally by City Hall and the government. The merger will see it completely subsumed into the mayor's office as part of the Greater London Authority (GLA).

"The government agenda is all about localism and returning power to communities," acknowledged BNP Paribas Real Estate senior planner Henrietta Ashun.

"However, creation of the MDC would mean that 100 per cent of the power goes to the mayor. The GLA would apply for permission and would in effect grant it to itself," she added.

Ashun maintained that this could lead to less consultation, but acknowledged that it is difficult to judge what it would mean without more detail.

A legacy company spokesman said the change would benefit control of the site. "In the meantime we'll carry on as we are. Nothing is really changing - this just means more powers down the line," he explained.

The proposal to re-establish the company as the MDC is part of a proposed devolution package sent to communities secretary Eric Pickles in July.

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