RHS hopes to recycle temporary Olympic Games structure as Chelsea plant marquee

With just over two years to go before the 2012 London Olympics, the horticulture industry is gearing up for the event, with the RHS one of several organisations hoping to capitalise on the Olympic legacy.

The society is in talks to use an Olympic structure in place of its plant marquee for its centenary show in 2013.Structures, such as the basketball arena manufactured by Scottish firm Barr, are owned by the construction companies building them rather than the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). But the ODA is in negotiations with the constructors to find a new home for structures after the games.

RHS shows development director Bob Sweet said: "We have approached the ODA to determine whether any temporary structures used for the Olympics could be of use to us for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The ODA has mentioned the basketball arena."

He added that discussions were not as advanced as talking about cost and admitted that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea would "have a view" if the 12,000-capacity arena was erected at the flower show.

An ODA representative said: "The basketball arena is the largest temporary venue in the history of the games. The main structure can be dismantled and reassembled after the Olympics so that it can be used elsewhere. The ODA is only building permanent venues when an end use is identified."

He added: "The construction contractor that owns the arena has already received a number of enquiries from parties interested in using it for a variety of events."

RHS shows advisory committee chairman Dougal Philip said 2012 would be the RHS's last year with its present contract to use the Great Pavilion after extending an initial 10-year deal for a further three. "We could keep going or might buy a structure left over from the Olympics that needs recycling," he added. "These are exciting times. They have to recycle so there might be opportunities to use some structures going forward."

L Meanwhile, the Queen is due to visit the National Gardening Centre at Capel Manor today (11 June). The centre showcases British horticulture and plants that are available to buy from garden centres.

She will see John Woods Nurseries' 2010 RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden, which is being relocated to Capel, and will open the Old Manor House Garden.

The National Gardening Centre, sponsored by the HTA and Horticulture Week, is designed to attract visitors from the Olympics, which is being held six miles away in Stratford, east London.

www.HorticultureWeek.co.uk/forums to comment on this story


Following a competitive procurement through CompeteFor, the online business dating agency for London 2012 contracts, Erith has been appointed to deliver the hard landscaping in the north of the Olympic Park for lead contractor Bam Nuttall.

The multi-million pound contract includes drainage, ground works and surfacing in the parklands and public space for the 2012 Olympic Games and legacy. The company is due to start work on site in the next few weeks.

John Hopkins, Olympic Delivery Authority project sponsor for parklands and public realm, said: "The parklands are taking shape and later this year people will start to see the change from neglected industrial land to new green space with trees, wetlands, lawns and meadows."

He added: "This is another welcome addition to the world-class team creating the parklands that will be a fantastic backdrop for the Olympic Games and a great new park for people and wildlife in legacy."

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