Olympics minister sends stark warning
Just 24 hours after Olympic Park Legacy chair Margaret Ford suggested UK practices behind the 2012 Games venues should ignore strict publicity restrictions, architects have now been warned not do so by Olympics minister Hugh Robertson.
Sources who attended a breakfast meeting at the Mipim property show yesterday morning said they were told by Ford they shouldn’t worry about ignoring the protocols about promoting their work which the London Orgainising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) tells firms they have to obey. One source said: “She [Ford] said ‘ask forgiveness but don’t ask permission’ when the issue came up.”
But now architects have been told they could be prosecuted if they break the rules which ensure the main sponsors of the games are associated with any marketing initiatives in the lead-up to and during this summer’s event.
Asked whether he had sympathy for those firms complaining about the rules, Robertson told BD. “No. When people signed the contracts they knew what they were letting themselves in for. These aren’t bloody-minded rules. I can understand the frustration but it won’t last forever. Once the Games are over, they will be allowed to do so.”
And he added practices should have made more of a fuss two years ago. “It’s a bit of an artificial row this one. Everyone knows who these architects are behind the venues. It’s a classic case of a bandwagon gaining momentum.” Robertson was backed by Ford, who in a U-turn distanced herself from her previous remarks and told architects not to break the rules. “I know it is frustrating but there is a protocol in place,” she said.
Robertson’s comments were immediately condemned by New London Architecture chairman Peter Murray who wrote to prime minister David Cameron to complain about the issue at the beginning of the year. “I’m shocked at how out of touch the minister is with what is happening inside Locog.”
He said a number of smaller practices were worried they would be taken to task if they broke the rules. “Some are worried that they’ll get sued by Locog. They need to call the lawyers off. Hugh Robertson can say ‘they know what they signed up to’, but if they hadn’t they wouldn’t have got the job.”
Murray revealed he had been asked by Locog to strip out the names of the architects behind the Olympic Village at an event NLA is hosting on the site next week - but he refused. “We’re not allowed to call it the Olympic Village. We have to call it the East Village and we can’t give any biography details of the architects on the job. As a minister, he doesn’t know what’s going on at ground level.”
He also said an event NLA had planned to stage during the Games themselves to highlight their sustainability has had to be ditched after Locog refused the NLA permission to host it.
31 July 2012
11 April 2012
22 March 2012
28 February 2012
2 February 2012
27 January 2012