Boris Johnson will personally head up the legacy organisation in charge of turning the Olympic Park into facilities for London after bumping the previous head, Daniel Moylan, to a role looking into aviation.
Moylan had only been in the job three months; the London Assembly didn’t think he was the right man from the start, symbolically rejecting Johnson’s appointment of him back in May. Apparently in that three months Moylan had managed to get up the noses of board members at the London Legacy Development Corporation with what’s described as a “maverick style” and disagreements over what to do with the media centre.
It’s thought that by taking personal charge (though he will appoint a deputy, which is the standard way Boris tends to run things) the Mayor is hoping to extend his Olympics boost – a YouGov poll yesterday showed him to be six points ahead of David Cameron as Tory party leader, but still wouldn’t be capable of beating Labour in a general election. The Mayor said
Securing the future of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy and building on the regeneration of east London is a matter of huge importance to me personally. It is vital that I continue to be at the forefront of the decision-making, driving forward the huge task of delivery.
Which rather makes us wonder why he didn’t take the lead three months ago. But reflected glory is not guaranteed: his new role means that decisions like the new tenant of the Olympic stadium, which so far has been a total shambles, will be made on his watch. London has fallen in love with that stadium and its future will needed to be handled carefully. Green Assembly Member Darren Johnson also highlights the Mayor’s lack of experience in this field:
I am worried that Olympic Park legacy will become a bog standard mix of concrete and tarmac unless the Mayor immediately appoints some senior people who have real experience of delivering imaginative regeneration projects.
Moving Moylan to head up a new City Hall aviation unit is one more step in Boris’s anti-third-runway stance. Last week the Mayor announced an inquiry to rival the government’s own aviation inquiry, except the one at City Hall will only consider alternatives to Heathrow. In all his sabre-rattling, we hope Boris doesn’t forget how he promised Londoners a good relationship with Number 10 and that deliberately annoying Cameron and co might mean we get less help when we need it.