Contractors must fight hard for Olympic legacy
In the afterglow of the Olympics, politicians have been quick to maximise the benefits of their feel-good factor. Construction companies, which did so well to launch the Creating Britain’s Future Campaign ahead of the Games, must do the same.
Prime minister David Cameron may not have been in power when Britain won the Olympics, but he has rightly made the most of the opportunity to shout on a world stage – with the Olympic Park gleaming in the background – about the excellence of UK companies and their ability to deliver.
He’s also promised continued investment in the development of Britain’s sports stars of the future and said competitive team sports will be made compulsory for schoolchildren as part of the Games’ enduring legacy.
It’s this legacy where attention must be focused now. And if Mr Cameron is promising more school sports and the development of the athletes of the future, the facilities will need to be there to provide that.
Now is the time for construction companies – along with schools and local authorities – to lobby for spending on new sports facilities.
Funding should be added to the Priority Schools Building Programme, while Sport England’s Places, People, Play fund and others like it should present opportunities for work. What better way to create the legacy the Games has promised, while providing an economic boost throughout the country?
As the government looks to remove some of the constraints that come with section 106 agreements, we can only hope that housebuilding will get moving too – providing the industry with a genuine opportunity to emerge from the trough on the housing supply graph while turning a reasonable profit.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles has announced that ‘mediators’ will work with local authorities to help them get stalled schemes off the ground.
Now would be the time for him to make a fresh push to persuade councils to dispose of land that could be used for development.
One year after he called for all local authorities to publish asset registers, some councils still can’t supply the information, let alone make it ready for sale, as our investigation into council land sales in London reveals.
There are opportunities in all of this. All those contractors who’ve promised they can provide innovative solutions to help unlock schemes: now is the time to step forward.