London's 2012 Park gets final approval

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LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) London organisers received the green light to begin constructing the 2012 Olympic Park when final planning permission was granted today.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the body responsible for building the venues and infrastructure, have already taken over the 2.5 square-km site in east London and demolition and preparation work is on schedule.

Two 10,000-page planning applications were submitted in February outlining the major venues and regeneration work that will create one of Europe's largest urban parks.

The ODA's Planning Committee approved the plans in August but they have now been rubber-stamped by the Government Office for London (GOL) and the Greater London Authority (GLA).

''This is another major milestone achieved in our journey to 2012,'' Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee (LOCOG), said in a statement.

''A lot of hard work has gone into achieving this and I congratulate everyone concerned. We are on track to deliver a first class Games with an Olympic Park that will leave a lasting legacy far beyond 2012.'' The ODA has set itself 10 major milestones to be reached by the time the Olympic flame is extinguished in Beijing next year, including the building of temporary roads and the installation of new water and electricity networks.

In what it calls its Demolish, Dig, Design phase, the ODA has already begun preparing the site for the Aquatics Centre while an announcement is expected soon on the design for the main Olympic Stadium.

Construction of some of the major venues and the Olympic village is expected to begin in earnest in the second half of 2008.

REUTERS PDS KP2104

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