Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Instead of passing the torch, it'll be passing the park

No more pomp and ceremony, no more fireworks; the Olympic Games may be over, but the legacy relay race is approaching the start line

Well, that's pretty much it, isn't it? Bar the odd victory parade like the one taking place at lunchtime today (I'm guessing quite a few workplaces in the capital are going to be rather thin on the ground staff-wise from noon onwards), it's Games over. It's back-to-normal telly rather than wall-to-wall coverage of triumphs and bitter disappointments. A new Nigella series is hardly compensation for the end of the Olympics and Paralympics.

For the audience and the athletes the closing ceremony last night was the end of the affair, but for an anonymous army, it's just the beginning. Over the next six weeks, 5,000 Locog contractors will be advancing on the Olympic Park to "commence overlay deconstruction" (that's taking down the signs, the seats, the loos, the stalls and the fences to you and me). All the pink signs and banners with their jaunty font will be recycled, the enormo McDonalds will be reduced to a massive pile of MDF.

Then another relay will take place, although instead of passing on the torch, it'll be the passing on of the park. Come the end of October, the London Legacy Development Corporation finally gets its mitts on the area surrounding the park, before crossing the threshold to the park itself in November. While I've been dreading the end of the Games, this is the moment when the legacy lot springs into action, turning the now-familiar sports venues into parks, new neighborhoods, leisure centres and visitor attractions.

What, no fireworks? No rock bands? No choreographed dance to symbolise the passing on of the future of the Olympic spirit?

A terribly nice London Legacy spokesperson dazzled me with the stats and facts about what the development corporation would be doing with the £300m it has to spend. He explained that come November, there wouldn't be some grand handover of a giant set of keys to the park from Locog to the London Legacy bods. What, no fireworks? No rock bands? No choreographed dance to symbolise the passing on of the future of the Olympic spirit? Nope. No more pomp and ceremony, just hard graft, public and private-sector involvement and serious talk of regeneration. Oh well.

For all my wistfulness about normal service being resumed, after giving me the official information about what happens next, I did get a flicker of Olympic-grade excitement. His office must be champing at the bit to get their hands on the park, right? He confessed it was a huge buzz to be getting started on something that had been planned for so many years. The Games are over, but at least someone has something thrilling to look forward to.