More than 5 million pounds of Lottery money which helped build the Olympic Park in Stratford is to be reused to back grassroots sports. The Big Lottery Fund will distribute the money through its Spirit of 2012 Trust.
The Olympic Park, off limits to the public since the end of the London 2012 Games more than six months ago, is reopening for short visits.
So far, 20,000 tickets have been purchased by people wanting to get their first glimpse of the site in Stratford where Olympic and Paralympic medals were won.
The Park in Progress Tours are set to run on weekends and during school holidays from March 29 to June 23. Visitors will have to wear hard-hats and high-visibility jackets as the venue is now once again a construction site.
It will reopen as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, complete with housing, businesses, parklands and venues to stage sporting, entertainment and community events.
"So many people want to see the park and to know why it is changing because they loved it so much when they were last here. Of course, when you take away the toilets, shops, the McDonald's and all the people, what you end up with is concrete. Part of the chance to visit is for people to understand that new things are coming but that it looks like this at the moment.It is also to try and make sure they understand that where the venues are changing they are evolving for people to use.
– Peter Tudor, London Legacy Development Corporation
The swimming pool, for example, is now a swimming pool for everyone and the community, not just Olympic medallists.We are taking down the basketball arena because that is where we will start building homes. The park is becoming a place for people to live, work and play."
- Tickets will cost £15 for adults, £10 concessions
- Children's tickets will cost £7 for those under 17, with under-fours free
- Special rates for groups of ten or more
- Park is due to open in phases starting in July
- Trees and shrubs will be added to make it a greener space
Tours of the Park in Progress begin on the 29th March, and tickets are on sale now.
Free preview tours will be offered to local residents, ahead of the general public, with tickets allocated to the neighbouring boroughs.
The Legacy Corporation is also offering a local resident discount for the tours, subject to availability.
Tickets for "The Park In Progress Tour" will cost £15 for adults, £10 for pensioners and students and £7 for children up to the age of 17. There are also special rates for groups of 10 or more.
London mayor and London Legacy Development Corporation chairman Boris Johnson described it as "a fantastic opportunity to relive our summer like no other and look ahead to an amazing summer series of concerts and sporting events".
The Park is set to reopen in phases from July, with concerts and sports events from the first anniversary of the London 2012 Games.
Sports fans are being given the chance to get back into the Olympic Park before it reopens to the public in July.
Tickets are being offered for tours of the site in Stratford, between March 29 and May 6, as it is redeveloped into the Queen Elizabeth Park.
The park has been closed since the 2012 Games ended last September.
The Olympic Park has won the Mayor of London's ‘Planning Excellence’ award at this year's London Planning Awards. The site was developed from a contaminated brownfield site and is now being transformed to include thousands of homes and eight venues for concerts and sporting events.