Leading Paralympian lauds Olympic Park

The Olympic Park landscapes and buildings have been given a gold rating from Britain's most successful Paralympian.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson said the park is the most accessible yet, helping people with disabilities, young families and older people enjoy the sporting extravaganza that starts in one week with the opening ceremony.

She added that the gentle gradients of the land meant spectators could get around easily, and also highlighted the use of specialist computer modelling to ensure all spectators enjoyed good sightlines, tactile surfaces and contrasting colours.

She praised the design of the apartments and said she was impressed with the external details such as outdoor furniture - more than 250 benches and 3,300 seats across the park are spaced a maximum of 50m apart.

The Olympian, who won 11 Paralympic gold medals from 1992 to 2004, said: "London is setting new standards to ensure absolutely no-one misses out, whether they are competitors or spectators.

"These important features are central to enabling spectators to get around the Olympic Park and venues easily, making it an ideal space for older people and parents with prams as well as those with mobility impairments."

Olympic Delivery Authority chief executive Dennis Hone said: "Inclusive design was built into the Olympic Park and its venues from the very beginning. We listened to what experts said and got views of people with disabilities, local communities and technical experts."

Long before construction began on the Olympic Park, the Olympic Delivery Authority developed an inclusive design standards strategy to act as a guide for contractors, Hone said. This required them to build in principles of accessible design from the start.

A spokeswoman said: "The public realm and the approach to all the buildings in the Paralympic Village have been designed and constructed to accommodate all types of accessibility needs."

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