The credit crunch has forced ministers to release another £366m from the Olympic Games contingency fund to resuscitate the stalled athletes’ village and media centre projects.
The Olympic Delivery Authority last month said it would need £231m from the £2.2bn contingency budget to bankroll the £850m athletes’ village after developer Lend Lease was hit by funding difficulties brought on by the failing economy. That comes on top of the £95m already signed off to kick-start work.
The media centre will now get £135m of contingency cash due to a lack of private sector funding, making the £355m venue 100% public funded. Carillion, which had formed a partnership with developer Igloo to build and finance the project, will instead take on the role of contractor. But project manager Gleeds has been dropped from the reinvented project in favour of a team run by the ODA.
Plans to move part of the media centre to Westfield’s Stratford City scheme have now been dropped and the building will be built at the north-west corner of the Olympic Park as permanent structures with some temporary elements.
Olympic minister Tessa Jowell was looking for the rays of sunshine between the clouds. ‘Lower than anticipated construction inflation and good progress across the project has reduced risks, meaning that the overall budget is unchanged.
‘The increased public investment in these projects also means that the public purse will receive a greater share of receipts when they are sold after the games.’
It was better news for Atkins, which has won the major contract to mastermind almost 100 temporary venues for the Olympic, including Horse Guards Parade, Greenwich Park, St James’ Park in Newcastle and Hampden Park in Glasgow.
As official engineering design services provider the consultancy is already working on the remediation of the Olympic Park site. The ODA has also published an OJEU notice seeking architects to work with Atkins on the temporary venues.