Thursday 8 December 2016

Olympic Stadium costs soar

Published 19/06/2015 | 16:31

The London 2012 Olympic Stadium has been redeveloped ahead of West Ham's move for the 2016/2017 season
The London 2012 Olympic Stadium has been redeveloped ahead of West Ham's move for the 2016/2017 season

The cost of converting the Olympic Stadium into a new home for West Ham has risen to £272million, rocketing the overall cost of the project to £701m.

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A 'fixed' conversion fee of £154m was originally agreed by London Legacy Development Corporation with constructor Balfour Beatty, but a rise in costs to £189.9m was announced in October and it has now emerged the final figure is even higher.

In the bid for the London 2012 Games, the Olympic Stadium cost was put at £280m, but the final construction price tag was £429m.

West Ham will move into the 54,000-seater venue at Stratford for the start of the 2016/2017 season, and will pay a contribution of some £15m as well as a £2.5m annual rent on a 99-year lease, while British Athletics are entitled to host 20 days per annum.

The Olympic Stadium will boast the world's largest cantilevered roof, coming at a cost of some £193.9m, with some 21,000 moveable seats. It will hold the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games next month as well as Rugby World Cup matches in September and the Race of Champions motorsport event at the multi-use arena.

The breakdown of the funding showed some £148.8m in 2010 from corporate social responsibility settlement and "income generated on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park through land sales and profits from venues". Newham Council contributed £40m, the Government £25m and UK Athletics £1m. There was £38.7m from the Games Public Sector Funding Package and £3.5m from the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

Local school clubs will be given year-round access to the new floodlit 400 metres track, with a training and education centre in the stadium, which will offer up to 100,000 free tickets every year for Newham residents at West Ham matches.

Chief executive of the LLDC David Goldstone is confident the commercial deals in place will mean the Olympic Stadium should not require further public money.

"We have invested in transforming a temporary athletics venue into a permanent world-class multi-use arena that has a secure and long-term sustainable future. This has required a significant amount of work and innovative engineering solutions," Goldstone said.

"Alongside the transformation work the deals signed with British Athletics and West Ham United and the appointment of a stadium operator ensures the stadium will pay its way and not require any continuing subsidy from the taxpayer."

London Major Boris Johnson believes the final project is the best outcome.

He said in a statement: "A very bad call was made when those in charge at the time backed a stadium construction plan that would leave the Olympic Park with a much smaller, mouldering and tumbleweed ridden arena following the Games," Johnson said.

"Following that plan would have literally torn the heart out of the park and put at risk the incredible economic regeneration we are now seeing in east London.

"Our remedy offered long-term sustainable investment in order to protect an iconic stadium that Londoners took to their hearts, and which is now set to be home to almost every conceivable sport, concert or community event for decades to come.

"We've created a knockout venue that will drive and sustain thousands of jobs, where we've ensured that a hefty share of the profits will be paid back into the taxpayers coffers and which provides a genuine Olympic legacy for our city."

Press Association

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