To the north of Stratford International station sit 3,000 brand-new, unoccupied apartment homes across 91 acres: the Olympic Village. To the south sits a shiny shopping centre, a new Westfield, or Eastfield perhaps, waiting to open next year. It abuts another station, Stratford Regional, on the southern tip of the site, which is being expanded to process 125,000 people a day. Both stations will, in two years’ time, disgorge these kinds of numbers on to this island for four weeks of partying in the summer of 2012 for both the Olympics and Paralympics, all at the British Government’s expense. It will cost about £9 billion, more than three times the original figure.
The island, like the homes and the shopping centre, is not yet open for business. The Olympic Park site is pregnant with cranes, diggers – and promise. The language of promise is written in hyperbole and coat-hook statistics on which any builder here will happily hang his hi-vis jacket: £5 billion worth of engineering contracts; 120 miles of electrical cabling buried in underground tunnels; 4,000 trees being planted; 350,000 plants; 2,000 newts relocated; a quarter of a million loaves of bread needed over two weeks. It will take a miracle of baking coordination.
London 2012: Kevin McCloud reports from inside the Olympic site
July 17, 2010