Speculation is intensifying that the government will give the go-ahead for a 2012 games bid within weeks.
Arup is among a number of firms that will enter a competition to draw up a masterplan for Olympic developments in east London, fuelling rumours that the government is about to approve a bid for the 2012 games.

Regeneration body the London Development Agency last week announced that it was commissioning a masterplan for a fee of £1m.

This would cover the lower Lea Valley area in north-east London. It was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Mark Bostock, the Arup director who oversaw a £200,000 cost benefit analysis of a London bid last year, confirmed that the company would submit proposals for a masterplan to the development agency. He said that he would be actively involved in drawing them up.

Bostock said Arup could not afford to be complacent about winning the masterplan because it had carried out the research. But he added: "We have done an enormous amount of work in the lower Lea Valley and east London so we know the issues very well."

Other players, including HTA Architects and Hamilton Associates, have confirmed they will be pitching for the project.

The LDA has developed a 15-year regeneration programme for the lower Lea Valley. It has emphasised that any Olympic schemes will be co-ordinated with future local developments.

The selected candidate will be required to produce varied 3D spatial masterplans for the lower Lea Valley to accommodate both a successful and an unsuccessful Olympic bid.

Reports last week suggested that the government is weeks away from giving its approval for a bid. Insiders say a decision has been delayed because of the conflict in Iraq. London mayor Ken Livingstone has until 15 July to submit a bid to the International Olympic Committee.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has been in talks with the national lottery commission over plans to introduce an Olympics lottery game, should Britain's bid be successful. This would aim to raise £750m over nine years.

News of the masterplan came as former chief executive of the Millennium Dome PY Gerbeau said he wanted to lead London's bid for the Olympics.

  • Greenwich council has given permission for the redevelopment of the Millennium Dome into a 26,000-seater sports stadium with the surrounding land to be used for housing. The proportion of affordable housing is to be 35%.