Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by UK Athletics


  1.  UK Athletics welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to the Select Committee. It is not intended to repeat the issues that led to UK Athletics seeking a new venue for World Championships in Athletics in 2005 and beyond as these have been covered in detail in previous reports. Instead we will focus on four areas:

    1.1  selection process for the new National Athletics Stadium in the Lee Valley;

    1.2  an update on National Athletics Stadium project;

    1.3  the bids and decisions to award the World Indoor Athletics Championships to Birmingham in 2003 and the World Outdoor Championships in Athletics to London in 2005; and

    1.4  progress in the arrangement for these two events.


  2.  Following the Secretary of State's decision to omit athletics from the new English National Stadium at Wembley, a site selection process was undertaken to find a new location in London both for the 2005 World Championships, and as a "legacy" National Athletics Stadium. Sport England facilitated a process for UK Athletics to select the site. A number of organisations offered invaluable assistance in this process including:

    2.1  The London 2005 Bid Committee

    2.2  Government Office for London

    2.3  UK Sport

    2.4  London International Sport

    2.5  British Olympic Association

  3.  We also received strong support from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Minister for Sport and officers of DCMS. In particular this support was given in chairing crucial meetings throughout the site selection process which was necessarily conducted at pace due to the impending IAAF Council Meeting to award the World Championships.

  4.  The organisations involved in the process agreed upon a number of criteria against which to evaluate the potential sites, and to produce a shortlist for final selection. The criteria used were:

    4.1  Site availability, compatibility and ownership

    4.2  Likelihood of development achieving Planning Permission

    4.3  Convenient access to campus accommodation for c 3,200 beds (athletes' village)

    4.4  Capital and revenue viability

    4.5  Ability of project to contribute to local regeneration

    4.6  Quality of existing and potential transport links

    4.7  Appropriateness of setting for world event and likely local reaction

    4.8  Distance from Central London

    4.9  Potential of site to contribute to an East or West London Olympic Bid

  5.  Initial assessments were carried out, and on the basis of the findings a shortlist of sites was agreed by all parties. Approaches were made to the shortlisted sites for supplementary information, and interviews were held with key personnel.

  6.  Final reports were compiled, and at a meeting chaired by the Secretary of State on 24 February 2000 UK Athletics announced their preference for the Pickett's Lock site in the Lee Valley. This decision which received support from all organisations.



  7.  The lead partner in the project is the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA)—without their staff expertise and enthusiasm, and considerable financial contribution at risk, the project would not have taken off at all. UK Athletics are extremely grateful for their continued support.

  8.  The London Borough of Enfield (LBE) has offered valuable support, both in advising on the planning and transport aspects of the project and in providing the crucial local community input to the development. Sport England has assisted with financial support for feasibility studies (see below), and with advice in structuring the project development.

  9.  Other partners in the project are brought together at the Lee Valley Stadium Forum chaired by the Minister for Sport. This has proved to be useful for ensuring that a co-ordinated approach is taken as the project progresses on many fronts.

Feasibility Studies

  10.  With the financial support of Sport England and LVRPA, initial studies have been undertaken on design/technical aspects of the development, the planning context and the on-going viability of the "legacy" in the form of an outline business plan.

  11.  The positive findings of these initial reports, along with progress on other issues such as the "legacy" event profile, convinced Sport England to offer a further £1.33m towards:

    11.1  the appointment of a design team to produce outline designs and cost plans;

    11.2  the production of a planning application;

    11.3  the further development of capital and revenue funding packages;

    11.4  the completion of transport and environmental impact studies to inform both the client group and the planning process; and

    11.5  the formalisation of organisational arrangements within the client group.

  12.  UK Athletics is grateful for this financial support, along with the partnership funding from LVRPA, and sees this as an endorsement of the progress made on the project to date, and an indication of confidence in the ultimate success of the development.

Future Milestones

  13.  The most recent funding stream will see the project through to Spring 2001, at which point a planning application will be submitted, along with an application for further funding from Sport England. For the remainder of 2001 it is intended to work up the detailed design in response to issues raised from the planning process.

  14.  Demolition and site clearance should begin in 2002 with the stadium construction beginning the next year. Construction should be complete by Winter 2004 before fit-out begins in time for an opening at the start of the 2005 athletics season. A series of trial events will be held during Summer 2005 ahead of the World Championships in August.


  15.  UK Athletics made two bids to the IAAF Council in Paris on 2 and 3 April 2000, for the 2003 World Indoor Championships and the 2005 World Championships. Both bids were successful and these two events offer an unprecedented platform upon which to build a thriving future for the sport.

World Indoor Championships—Birmingham 2003

  16.  A bid from UK Athletics in conjunction with Birmingham City Council and UK Sport was submitted to the IAAF to stage the World Indoor Championships at the National Indoor Arena (NIA) in March 2003.

  17.  The NIA is the premier indoor athletics venue in the United Kingdom, offering a modern, light and airy arena that is equally popular with competitors, spectators, media and television. It will be an ideal setting for the most important event in the indoor athletics calendar and a great springboard for the 2005 outdoor World Championships in London.

World Championships—London 2005

  18.  A bid from UK Athletics in conjunction with UK Sport was submitted to the IAAF to stage the World Championships at the new stadium at Pickett's Lock in August 2005. Representatives of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and London Borough of Enfield were present to support the bid.

  19.  The bid presentation team included the Secretary of State and, along with the written support of the Prime Minister, his assurances over the stadium proved crucial with those members of the IAAF Council with doubts following the Wembley situation. The bid was accepted on the condition that UK Athletics and partners in the project could demonstrate clear progress on the stadium by October 2001.


World Indoor Championships—Birmingham 2003

  20.  Detailed discussions have been taking place to establish an Organising Committee. Birmingham City Council has been working with UK Sport in preparation for a Lottery application to assist with event staging costs.

  21.  By the end of December 2000 a Championships Director will be appointed, and by the end of January 2001 the IAAF, UK Athletics and Birmingham City Council will sign the Event Organisation Agreement.

  22.  During February 2001 an Executive Committee will be formed, and in March 2001 UK Athletics and Birmingham City Council will host a reception for team leaders and media attending the World Indoor Championships in Lisbon, Portugal.

World Championships—London 2005

  23.  Detailed discussions have been taking place with the Greater London Authority, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, plus other agencies with the objectives of having the necessary relationships clearly defined so that an Organising Committee can be formed and the IAAF Event Organisation Agreement (EOA) signed by the required parties.

  24.  The event budget has been refined following an initial assessment by Sport England and their advisers. The assessment was very positive and a framework for the substantive Lottery application has resulted from the continued supportive relationship with Sport England officers.

  25.  The EOA will be signed by the end of January 2001 and the Organising Committee will be officially appointed during Spring 2001. At the same time, an initial Operational Plan will be produced that will provide a framework for the development of the event in the years leading up to 2005.

  26.  The substantive Lottery application, which will include the updated budget and Operational Plan, will be compiled and submitted in Spring 2001. The detailed progress report required by the IAAF on the stadium development will be compiled and submitted to the IAAF by 1 October 2001.

December 2000

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 26 March 2001