Last month, the tenants of London’s Fred Wigg Tower failed in their legal bid to stop the MoD putting missiles on their roof to protect the Olympics from imagined aerial atrocities It’s not the only time that the Olympics and housing have crossed paths. But which of the following seven tales are fact, and which one is the false start?
1 The Olympic Village
2012’s Olympic Village has been a real earner for the taxpayer, if ‘earner’ is taken to mean ‘catastrophic loss’. The site was snapped up by the State of Qatar and developers Delancey
for a sweet £557 million, translating into a Herculean loss of £157 million. Built to house the various hoppers, tossers and sloggers during the Games, some social homes are planned for the site once the podium posturing is done. So it’s Gold for Qatar; a gold chocolate coin with the chocolate already scoffed and the gold foil crumpled into a pathetic ball for Britain.
2 The Daley Thompson building
Thompson’s athletic feats were almost a daily occurrence during the 1980s, with the broad moustachioed Londoner snatching decathlon Gold at the 1980 and ‘84 Games. In fact, so cherished were Thompson’s deeds that he had a Notting Hill housing block named after him, Daley Thompson House, which can be found on London’s Talbot Road. Thompson recently told the Evening Standard that he didn’t think the world was “ready for another me yet”, which may have been an oblique reference to his fearsome whiskers.
3 Weymouth & Portland’s house sails
Called the ‘San Tropez of the South Coast’ by nobody, the beach community of Weymouth & Portland is to host 2012’s sailing events. 84 residential units will cater for 700 aquatic drifters during the fun and games, after which the apartments will be converted into homes – 25 percent of which will be for social housing.
4 Olympian rents
The Olympics might be a giggle for unctuous, country pile types like Boris Johnson and Sebastian Coe, but tenants unlucky enough to have to rent near the festivities probably aren’t
laughing. East London rents have risen at a much higher rate than the rest of the city in the build up to the Games – and there have even been reports of landlords booting residents out in order to capitalise on flusher Olympic spenders.
5 Fast food homes
Most Olympian athletes agree that a diet of McDonalds and Coca Cola built them the physiques they need to win, hence the heavy presence the companies will enjoy at the Games. What is less known, however, is that the health food giants are ready to recycle their packaging into homes for the needy. An estimated 600 million tonnes of used burger boxes are to be mashed down and reset into a new form of walling, whilst over eight trillion empty cola bottles will be blasted to bits and recast as panes of glass. The pieces will then be gummed together with the contents of an expected 87 billion cast-aside mayonnaise sachets. It is hoped that the homes, which will be partially edible, can provide housing for over five million homeless families across the UK.
6 Linford Christie
Perhaps Britain’s most iconic Olympian, Christie grew up in a two-bedroom council house in West London. Seven of the Christie clan were crammed into the small home; little wonder, then, that the future Gold medallist felt the urge to get out and run about a bit. Of his days in social housing, Christie has been glowing, commenting: “The council network of which we were part offered plenty of opportunities to get out, and there was strong mutual respect between residents.”
7 Phillips Idowu
The British triple jump Gold favourite was bought up on an East End council estate – from which he once feared he would never leave. In a career blighted by injury, Idowu first experienced Olympic action in 2000’s Sydney Games, where he came sixth. The colourfully crowned leaper has said that achieving Gold in London will make up for all the heartache he suffered as a child in London.
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ANSWER: Number 5 is untrue, though McDonalds do have long-term plans to install burger counters in every British household.