Olympic Stadium 'not being used to the full' - Lords report

 
Olympic Stadium West Ham games are due to be held at the Olympic Stadium from August 2016

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The Olympic Stadium is not being used as well as it should be, according to a group of Lords who also questioned the legacy of London 2012.

The House of Lords Committee on Games Legacy said the £429m stadium was a "national asset that should be used to the full".

But it remained "unconvinced" that present arrangements would deliver an "effective and robust" legacy.

The government said it remained committed to building on the Games.

While acknowledging that the Olympics and Paralympics were an "outstanding success" the report also calls on the government to appoint a minister to take overall responsibility for delivering legacy benefits.

The major examination of London's legacy efforts by a cross-party committee of peers claims political impetus has been lost and there is a "lack of ownership" from the government over building on the opportunities the Games provided.

'A farce'

The report's authors say there are no white elephants among 2012 facilities but there is "little evidence" that a step-change in sport participation levels has materialised - a key pledge from London's bid for the Games.

There is also criticism over the geographical spread of the economic benefits - with foreign investment as a result of London 2012 resulting in 15,000 jobs for the south-east, but just seven in the north-east.

And it said there may have been too many "closed minds" about potential options for how the Olympic Stadium could be used.

Planned or possible future events

  • West Ham United home games from 2016
  • Matches in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, being staged in England
  • 2017 World Athletics Championships
  • London Diamond League athletics meetings
  • Twenty20 cricket matches
  • 2022 Commonwealth Games
  • Rock concerts

West Ham United was chosen to be the anchor tenant of the 80,000 capacity venue, which is set to be turned into a 54,000-seater stadium in time for the 2016-17 season.

The east London club has been awarded a 99-year lease on the stadium in Stratford.

This summer, the venue staged a sell-out athletics meeting on the weekend of the first anniversary of the start the 2012 Olympics.

Pop concerts, 2015 Rugby World Cup matches, the 2017 World Athletics Championships, and future London Diamond League athletics meetings are all set to take place there after the reconstruction work.

Essex County Cricket Club has suggested it could play Twenty20 games at the stadium and earlier this year a bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games was mooted.

But last November the chairman of UK Athletics, Ed Warner, said he had expected the stadium to reopen in 2014 and branded the delay to 2015 or 2016 "a farce".

Leyton Orient wanted to share the use of the stadium and the League One club had applied at the High Court to have a judicial review of the decision to award it to the Hammers but this was refused.

'Squabble not helpful'

Lord Harris, chairman of the Lords committee, said the clubs were acting "like children squabbling over who goes down the slide first as far as the stadium is concerned".

"We urge those concerned to think further on how the two most local football clubs might work together, including whether any difficulties can be ameliorated through wider community use of the stadium, which may include its occasional use by Leyton Orient FC if appropriate financial arrangement can be agreed," he said.

Olympic stadium The park around the stadium is to be called the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

In its report, titled Keeping The Flame Alive, the committee said: "Our feeling is that the stadium is a national asset.

"There has been very substantial investment in the facilities. Given that this is a national asset and the focus should be on making the best use of it for the community, this squabble is not helpful.

"At the moment our concern is that there are too many closed minds about this."

Lord Harris added: "At the moment I think all we have heard is people's negotiating position rather than a serious attempt to reach a compromise."

Leyton Orient welcomed the report. Chairman Barry Hearn said: "I agree with the House of Lords recommendation - ourselves, West Ham and the LLDC should sit down and work this out together once and for all."

The club said it would seek a meeting with the LLDC to discuss "what part we can play in the future use of the Olympic Stadium".

A spokesman for West Ham said the club was focused on "creating a stunning new home for the club and its supporters in 2016, alongside a long-term legacy for the community of east London".

"What goes on with other interested parties is very much a matter for (Leyton Orient) and the LLDC, and not West Ham United," he said.

'Blueprint' for future Games

The committee also said time frames and targets were confused and the political drive which helped to make the Games a success had now fallen by the wayside.

As well as suggesting the appointment of a legacy benefits minister, the peers also called for the Department for Transport to try to secure international train services at Stratford International station, in order to generate a return on the substantial investment made there.

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said: "The government remains committed to building on the legacy created from hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to benefit the entire country for generations to come.

"Our legacy has been hailed by the International Olympic Committee as a 'blueprint' for future Games and over the next 10 years we aim to use the inspiration of 2012 to deliver lasting change in sport, communities, the economy, east London and awareness and perceptions around disability."

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 290.

    The Olympics was a vulgar, utter waste of money all in pursuit of a couple of weeks temporary "glory" for a few sportsmen and politicians. You can't even say it benefitted Londoners let alone the rest of us.

    Each cycling medal cost around £5m in lottery funding alone. An outrageous waste of money so why is it a surprise to anyone that the stadium itself is a huge white elephant too?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 289.

    278.Mike_A
    54 Minutes ago
    Very true, but @ what cost to attend?

    £10 ph for the Olympic course and £5 ph is not a bad price for what is on offer. Cheaper for many in the area than driving to rivers with a similar standard of water and thus opening up access to a sport (whitewater paddling) that would not be available in the S.E. i.e. a legacy.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 288.

    This was the safest bet ever...Olympic legacy? You're having a laugh.

    Olympic sound bytes for the great and the good and sainthood for Lord Coe is about all we all paid buckets of cash that we didn't have for.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 287.

    Yep .. think you're right.

    Was going to open an English restaurant but didn't want picketing by the PC brigade.

    Anyone out there got a definition for 'Racist'? :-)

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 286.

    @285 and @273 - I think it's more to do with the racist undertone to a lot of your posts, albeit I'm sure no offence was intended...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 285.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules that you cannot include facts. Explain.

  • Comment number 284.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 283.

    Almost anyone with a functioning brain knew this would happen. - white elephants are impressive, but are not particularly beneficial.

    Expect the same from HS2 ... HS2 will end up seriously over (extended!) budget, be seriously impressive, but not particularly beneficial for the majority of us.... It will be yet another example of money not wisely spent.... Governments never learn.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 282.

    Of course it's not being used to the full. It has the ability to STAGE THE OLYMPICS. Anything less than that is unused capacity. How can anyone expect Olympic level events to happen every year???

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 281.

    Yes - More money for London please. Lovely

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 280.

    What a surprise. Billions spent in London no benefit to the "UK."

    My kids wanted to join a tennis club - our two local ones have a waiting list and mediocre facilities.

    If you want good access to sport for your kids in this country you need to be able to pay for a private education.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 279.

    278.Mike_A
    "..Far better this, & elite athlete, funding be put into sport for all to help create a healthier society. Any finance left could have helped improve access to rivers for all"
    ==

    Correct .. all the Elite athletes were funded to £50/60k plus to get these medals. How many of you get anywhere near that for doing what you love - your job?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 278.

    276 - Lee Valley is being used for canoeing/ kayaking and rafting on a daily basis.

    Very true, but @ what cost to attend? Unless youre one of the few on a funding program or live close enough to attend free sessions?

    Far better this, & elite athlete, funding be put into sport for all to help create a healthier society. Any finance left could have helped improve access to rivers for all

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 277.

    Can't wait for all the other regions of the UK to get the £9billion of UK taxpayers' money to spend. Will HS2 come to Edinburgh? No? Oh well, musn't grumble. I'm sure those people in London need Crossrail, HS2, AND Olympics much more than we do, so that's fair.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 276.

    Rather than viewing the stadium independently we need to look at all the venues. Lee Valley is being used for canoeing/ kayaking and rafting on a daily basis. It has already hosted the British Open Canoe slalom event, is due to host the World Championships in 2015 (and a World Cup in 2014). There are paddlers of all skill levels training there each week. That is the true legacy of the Olympics.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 275.

    Why on earth are we spending public money reducing the capacity from 80K to 57K? Surely it would be simpler to have some empty sesats if there's not enough spectators!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 274.

    The Romans built loads of these and they're all disused now too ...

    ... do we never learn?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 273.

    253.Come the Glorious Day
    "I had a wonderful experience ... and meeting people from around the world."
    ==
    As always when you visit London!

    253.Come the Glorious Day
    "Seems that tourism to London in 2013 has also been boosted."
    ==

    Think it's called Immigration. :-)

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 272.

    "The Olympic Stadium is not being used as well as it should be, according to a group of Lords"

    Err - Isn't that because it is shut at the moment for modification.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 271.

    10 years' ago, the same Seb Coe was very scathing & unsupportive of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Since then Lord Coe, the stadium post games became home to Manchester City FC as part of a huge regeneration of East Manchester, including new housing/sports facilities etc. And you're asking the rest of the country to support you?

 

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