Dereliction in the Lower Lea Valley, London

In the 1970’s and 1980’s globalisation led to deindustrialisation of London. The Thames barrage has only made it harder for shipping to reach companies within the city. Along with this loss of industry came vast amounts of unemployment.

Some restaurants now provide beach volleyball, champagne and similar assets, after the renovations for the 2012 Olympics. The rest of this post concerns the past state of affairs before Newham became the site of the 2012 Olympic Park- and why it became that.

The Lower Lea Valley was used for the Olympic water park during the games. The canals had been unused for 30 years, so they were clogged by silt and weeds.

Newham contained 42% of London’s brownfield- previously used- land. Brownfield sites had been vacant for 20 to 30 years. It was unattractive to developers due to:

  • Being fragmented into small plots
  • Some sites containing pollutants that would need to be cleaned out
  • Being criss-crossed with overhead powerlines, sewers, waterways, roads and rail lines.

These factors all lead to the regeneration for the 2012 Olympic park being so expensive to build.