Olympic landscape plan unveiled

30ha of soft landscaping, 2ha of wetlands and 6,000 trees to create green legacy.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has finally revealed its procurement plans for the landscaping of the Olympic Park. Head of design Jerome Frost and project sponsor John Hopkins told leading growers and landscapers at last week’s ODA Industry Day that trees have been put on the top of the agenda. An early procurement for the planting of 3,000 semi-mature trees will start at the end of next year — before the tendering process for the rest of the landscaping begins in 2009. Frost said: “We want to create a park that is a fantastic backdrop to the Games and a cornerstone of the regeneration of the area.” A further 3,000 trees will be planted after the Games to secure an Olympic Park legacy. Some of the 100 delegates who attended the event at Kew welcomed the news — while others were sceptical and said it is simply a case of “too little too late”. Greening the Games campaigner Mark Glover said: “It’s unusual for them to have to start the tree procurement at this sort of stage so you can definitely see how our campaign has had an effect.” But Greening the Games chairman Andrew Richardson said: “There are still some timescale concerns that they are not going to be ordering the trees until 2009 — when the bulk of the tree planting will take place.” Marketing manager for Coles Nurseries Lynn Hunter added: “They are going to have to buy bigger trees than they have needed to. But I think most growers have second-guessed that this would happen and have already planted trees early.” Delegates were also disappointed to hear the ODA and its development partner CLM could not reveal a figure for its landscaping budget. Gavin Jones landscaping director Mike Ogden said: “They said the budget has not changed but did not mention a figure. It could be £1m or £100m. The park will have a huge impact on this industry but without a figure we will not know the size of this work.” At the end of this year the ODA will look to appoint two lead contractors — one to manage the north and to manage the south of the park. These contractors are likely to be in construction and will act as project managers to appoint contractors to carry out the bulk of the 30ha of soft landscaping required.

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