Not long ago business, housing and transport experts, as well as politicians, confidently and boldly predicted that Crystal Palace would be revitalised by the 2012 Olympics-effect with two major projects racing to the finish line ahead of the London games.

But just a few months down the line, and with only one of the developments set to be completed by its original predicted completion date, optimism has somewhat dampened.

Work started on the East London Line extension to West Croydon via Crystal Palace, which is due to open in 2010, earlier this year.

A rise in house prices coincided with confirmation that the extension was to go ahead. Meanwhile, London's mayor Ken Livingstone predicted a boom in business and job opportunities in Crystal Palace would occur when the £1billion extension opens.

But last week the London Development Agency (LDA), which took over the running of the National Sports Centre (NSC) in March and are leading the £100million regenration of Crystal Palace Park, announced that the new NSC, which was hoped would open in 2010, will not open until after 2012.

The decision was taken on the mayor's advice so major events like the athletics Grand Prix and London Youth Games, aren't disrupted by building and moving facilities in Crystal Palace Park.

Business expert Ross Feeney from South London Business admitted: "To have had them both ready ahead of the Olympics would clearly have been hugely advantageous for Crystal Palace and south London."

Though there is still a possibility that existing facilities will be used by foreign athletes to acclimatise to British conditions, the delays to the new NSC means plans to use the centre as a training base for potential British medalists are unlikely to get out of the starting blocks.

The predicted business and employment benefits of having a new centre as the focal point of plans to regenerate the park are also unlikely to be felt for some years to come.

Concerns have also been voiced that instead of sprinting ahead to have new facilities in the park ready for 2012, plans for a new NSC and stadium structure have in fact been hamstrung by the looming spectre of the Olympic Games.

John Payne, chair of community group the Crystal Palace Community Association, said: "Clearly the enormity of the logistics and cost of the 2012 London Olympics has influenced this decision to defer specific plans for the reconfiguration of the stadium, new centre and other improvements to Crystal Palace Park to a much later date."

But a spokesman for the London Development Agency said: "The two projects are completely separate. Funding is always an issue but the mayor's decision was not a question of being in competition with the 2012 Olympics."

And though having both the new NSC and East London Line extension to Crystal Palace ahead of the Olympics would have been a major boost for the area, having one ready on time with the subsequent benefits that will be brought into the area, will have to do.

Mr Feeney added: "It is not all doom and gloom. The East London Line will have huge regenerative impact and we should not lose sight that this is going ahead."

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