Poorest borough's £40m plan for an Olympic future
Remember how plans for a £40m loan from Newham Council to West Ham lead to the deal over the 2012 Olympic Stadium collapsing?
Well, I've learned that a Newham Council meeting on Monday night will discuss how the council wants to fund the future stadium plans. Guess what? They're asking councillors to approve £40m of money from Newham.
The original deal with West Ham collapsed in October because of a legal complaint to the European Commission about the loan which could be regarded as state aid to West Ham.
But it was also controversial because Newham is London's poorest borough and some people questioned whether it should be giving money to a football club at a time of spending cuts.
That second argument still stands as the council discusses whether to give its chief executive, Kim Bromley-Derry, the power to offer the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) money to help rebuild the stadium after the Games.
Newham officials say they want to have a say in how the stadium is run after the Games and need, therefore, to have a legal stake in it. It will be owned by a public body set up by the OPLC.
A spokesman told me that the council would pay back any costs by sharing in the revenue generated by the stadium. It expects to raise the cash either through a loan or by using public funds to buy equity in the public body running the stadium.
But the council will also share the risk if the stadium becomes a white elephant.
West Ham may ask to rent the stadium, instead of sharing in a lease like last time, and it is hoped that the venue could become a successful concert arena.
But after £9.3 billion has been spent on building Olympic facilities, is it right that the poorest part of London should be spending more cash on its future?
It certainly would be a surprise if councillors turned down the proposal.
But, as BBC London reported at the time, there was controversy over the original loan.
This is the link to the council documents.