London_2012_Handball_Arena_artists_drawingFEBRUARY 11 - A HANDBALL ARENA to be built for London 2012 that will become a new multi-sports facility in legacy is set to start construction this summer after it was given planning permission.

The Olympic Delivery Authority's (ODA) Planning Committee recommendation will now go to the Greater London Authority (GLA) for approval before permission for the applications is formally granted.

Before the planning application was submitted for the Handball Arena sports users, local people, faith groups, community groups and young people were all consulted on the detailed plans.

David Higgins, the chief executive of the ODA, said: “This takes us a step closer towards a simple, sustainable and flexible Handball Arena that works for Games and legacy.

"Construction is on track to start this summer on the Arena which will provide a great experience for competitors and spectators during the Games and offer a new facility for local people to enjoy a range of sports in legacy."

The ODA's planning application revealed that  in legacy mode, the venue offers a 2,743 sq metre field of play hosting sports including five-a-side football, netball, basketball, volleyball, badminton, table tennis and fustal, as well as handball.

Sebastian Coe, the London 2012 chairman, said: “This is another example of the Games acting as a catalyst for change.

"This facility will be a high-quality venue at Games-time but also provides a legacy for sport in London and the UK .

"The fact that handball will have its own arena at Games-time will be a great boost to the sport in this country, and it will be a much used multi-purpose arena after the Games."

The Arena will be in the west of the Olympic Park, to the south of the Hockey Centre, within four minutes of the Olympic Village.

It will have up to 7,000 seats during the Games, hosting the handball preliminaries and quarter- finals as well as the modern pentathlon discipline of fencing.

It will also be the goalball venue during the Paralympic Games.

In legacy mode it will become a multi-sports venue with retractable seating for 6,000 spectators and flexible facilities to hold a range of training and competition events of all levels.

The Handball Arena, designed by Make Architects with PTW and Arup, features external copper cladding to give it a distinctive appearance that will develop a rich natural colour as it ages, the ODA claimed.

The concourse level features glazing which encircles the building, enabling visitors to the Olympic Park to view sport taking place inside, and illuminating the venue when lit at night.

The venue also has a vibrant and multi-coloured interior, with retractable seating to create a flexible space and with 100 light pipes in the ceiling to allow natural light into the venue.

Jules Pipe, the Mayor of Hackney, said: “The new multi-sports venue is a major opportunity to develop a world class centre for Hackney residents which is accessible and suitable for a range of community sports as part of the legacy of the 2012 Games.

"Hackney already has high quality, award-winning sports and leisure centres, and the Council is continuing to invest in these to offer all our residents access to healthier lifestyles through sport and physical activity.

"We will continue working to ensure that, when London 's Olympic and Paralympic Games have gone, the multi-sports Arena will remain as a venue for local people and visitors.”