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Pickles ups the ante and the Lords look for legacy, but not in the architects’ statistics

Today the House of Lords Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Committee quizzed former Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell and Ken Livingstone, who was Mayor of London when the successful bid was made.

The Committee has a number of issues to investigate regarding both the sporting and infrastructure ‘legacy’. Ken admitted as long ago as 2008 that the reason he “trapped” the then-Labour Government into the bid was to attract the billions of pounds of public investment into the area of East London that was earmarked for the site. The development of what was for a long time a derelict part of the capital has been a major achievement.

Another of the issues the committee is looking at, however, is the “potential benefits – if indeed there are any – to the rest of the UK, outside of London”. On that score there is less cause for optimism. In Sheffield the Don Valley Stadium, where Jessica Ennis trained and found fame, is to be closed and pulled down later this year. It is said it will be replaced by a medical research facility, so I’ll leave to you the pros and cons of that one.

• Other infrastructure news came from the Department for Just About Everything this week. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced an extra £100m for the development of roads, car parking and building projects at the 13 Enterprise Zones. The original funding was £60m.

Mr Pickles said: “The government is putting its money where its mouth is and making sure enterprise zones have the buildings and infrastructure they need to make sites ready for business to set up in.”

Ahem! I think he meant the government is putting OUR money where its mouth is, but no matter.

He continued: “Enterprise zones are proving extremely popular with business - they have already created over 3,000 jobs for local people - a 75% increase in just 5 months - and many more will be coming down the pipeline because of this new support.”

By my maths that works out at around £20,000 per job.

• Speaking of dodgy maths, a post on the Twittersphere caught my attention. It was from former architect and online consultant Sue Butcher regarding the First Women Awards for women in industry. She was pondering in her blog the proportion of women who were architects when she started and went to the Architects’ Registration Board archive of annual reports to find out what the current figure is. She came up against a figure for 2011 that made her “question their maths”.

The figures state that, of the 33,456 architects registered, 29,545 – or 79% – were male, while 6,911 (21%) were female. No wonder Sue Butcher questioned their figures. Simply adding 29,545 to 6,911 gives 36,456, not 33,456.

It gets worse. Upon perusing the report, it appears that, of the 29,942 UK-based architects, the whole 29,942 were male, while a further 3,514 were female. At this point I stopped trying to make sense of the percentages.

Chris Stokes