16 Oct 2008

London scales back Olympic plans as credit crunch bites

7:57 am on 16 October 2008

The credit crunch could have a silver lining for the hard-pressed organisers of the London 2012 Olympics who can now scale back their grand designs with the full blessing of the public and the IOC.

The rationing and homemade kit of 1948 when war-weary London's hosting was dubbed the "Austerity Games" should not be necessary this time but athletes arriving in 2012 will not be greeted by the mega-structures of Beijing.

Flat-pack stadiums are likely to be the order of the day while several of the original bid's planned temporary venues could be scrapped for existing buildings in an effort to stay within budget.

In normal circumstances the International Olympic Committee would frown upon changes to the original bid document.

But times have changed,, and cost-cutting measures could even get a nod of approval from the IOC.

London has plenty of options in terms of sporting venues, but the biggest concerns surround the two public-private sector projects in the Olympic Park -- the estimated one billion pound athletes' village and the 400 million pound media centre.

Olympic authoriies says inability to secure bank loans could result in ashortfall of up to 250 million pounds.

The slump in property prices has also resulted in the number of post-Olympics apartments being reduced from 4200 to 3000.