Sir Robin Wales criticises ‘urban desert’ comments

12:01 08 May 2012

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales defended pre-regeneration Newham after an Olympics boss said the area used to be an “urban desert”.

Stephen Frost, head of inclusion at London 2012, said the Olympic Park site used to be home to “burned out cars and wildcats” but the Games had transformed it into a “thriving community with affordable housing, lifetime homes, medical centres and new hospitals as well as venues built for legacy”.

Sir Robin, who sits on the boards of London 2012 and the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “I think it’s a bit of an exaggeration. There were some very good businesses growing, but the Olympics has helped us move forward quicker.

“To suggest it’s anything other than a dynamic place now would be wrong. The Olympics went there because there are 10 rail lines, which the council fought for years to put in place. We have had a dramatic transformation of our community.”

The comments were made while Mr Frost was addressing a conference in Toronto, Canada.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
2 3 4 5 6

Latest London politics news

Monday, October 12, 2015
Should cannabis be legalised in the UK? MPs debate the issue today (Picture: PA Images)

As MPs sit to debate whether or not cannabis should be legalised in the UK, we will bring you Twitter reactions, coverage of the pro-cannabis protest at Westminster and some of the key points on both sides of the argument. Ready or not, here we(ed) come!

Thursday, October 8, 2015
Queen Elizabeth II on a tour of the City and Islington College in 2012.

Jeremy Corbyn has declined an invitation to be sworn in to the Privy Council amid continued uncertainty over whether he will declare allegiance in person to the Queen.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Oxford Street has been called the most polluted street in Britain (Photo: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

Five major candidates for Mayor of London, including Sadiq Khan, Zac Goldsmith and Sian Berry, have said they would close Oxford Street to traffic.

Monday, October 5, 2015
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his first keynote speech on day three of the Labour Party annual conference. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn is due to speak at a protest against postal cuts in Manchester today, as his rival party meets in the city for its conference.

Monday, October 5, 2015
Police ushered the Mayor into the conference as protesters heckled and jeered (Photo: Mark McGowan/YouTube)

Mayor of London Boris Johnson was pelted with plastic balls as he arrived at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester today.

Friday, October 2, 2015
Zac Goldsmith will face Sadiq Khan in the battle for London in May 2016 (Picture: PA Images)

Environmentalist Richmond Park MP and Tory girls’ dreamboy Zac Goldsmith has been picked as the Conservative Party’s candidate for London Mayor, winning the contest with 70% of the vote. Here London24 brings you some of the funniest Twitter reactions to his selection.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Line-Up Events


Amazon: Everything you want to buy all in one place!

With £1,500 to spend online at Amazon, there’s really nothing you can’t buy.

Read more
You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

Read more

Latest Tech News