Olympic legacy committee Chairman Baroness Ford resigns

Baroness Ford, the official responsible for ensuring that the £7bn publicly-funded Olympic Park is properly used post-London 2012, has resigned and is to step down in September.

The Mayor of London today (8 February) announced he is creating a Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) that will be responsible for the regeneration legacy from the London 2012 Games. The new body opens for business 1 April 2012 and will continue the work of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC).

Baroness Margaret Ford will be the corporation’s interim Chair until the 2012 Games are over when she has decided to step down from the role.

The new Corporation will have greater powers over the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and a wider area including planning and development control.

Mayor Johnson said: “I am grateful for Margaret’s huge contribution over the last three years planning and delivering a solid 2012 legacy and delighted she will oversee this important work until after the Games as well as setting the new Legacy Corporation on a firm footing.”

Baroness Ford had been expected to oversee the transition in 2013 when the 500-acre site in Stratford undergoes a £300m upgrade for commercial use.

The Baroness has been a key figure in the negotiations with West Ham United and other potential bidders over the future of the Olympic Stadium.

The deadline for bids is 23 March.

A deal collapsed in October after the European Commission ruled a £40m loan to the football club from Newham Council constituted illegal state aid.

Ford is to take up a new appointment as chairman of Barchester Healthcare. She said next phase of the legacy work, including major transformation plans to the Park, were critical and required a great deal of attention. “I have decided therefore that I cannot continue to give the substantial time required for the role so after the Games would seem a natural point to make the change.

“It has been an absolute privilege to work with such a supportive Mayor and ministers, and extremely talented Board and staff members. Together we have set down strong foundations for the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and a major driver of the significant regeneration of this part of East London. But for now it is business as usual and I look forward to continuing to work over the next six months on the further challenges that lie ahead.”
 
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Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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