Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the London Borough of Enfield


  1.1  Enfield Council welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to the Select Committee as an opportunity to reinforce the Council's support for the staging of the 2005 World Athletics Championships at Picketts Lock and to set out the Council's interests in the development of the national athletics centre which will provide the venue for the Championships.

  1.2  Picketts Lock is situated to the east of the borough between Edmonton and Ponders End which are both areas of considerable deprivation. The site itself is part of the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority which owns and operates the site. However the London Borough of Enfield is the local planning authority.

  1.3  Historically, the Lee Valley in general and the Upper Lee Valley in particular formed the manufacturing heartland of London. However, its industries became a victim of the general decline in manufacturing, the speed and scale of which were greatly exacerbated by the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Since 1994, the area has benefited from European Objective 2 funding and, over the last few years, significant progress has been made in halting that decline, promoting new investment and in tackling the legacy of high levels of unemployment.

  1.4  For example, much work has been undertaken to reposition, diversity and re-brand the area as an attractive one for business, making use of its excellent strategic location. London's first full blown Science Park is currently being developed at Innova Park in North East Enfield, two miles to the north of Picketts Lock. Innova Science Park is the home of the London Business Innovation Centre (LBIC), established by Enfield Council in partnership with Middlesex University. The LBIC has a focused remit to identify, develop, fund and exploit new ideas for the creation of high-growth, wealth and job creating business within London and is the most successful of a network of more than 150 European Union Business Innovation Centres in 22 countries.

  1.5  The Council is working as a partner to the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and UK Athletics to ensure that the 2005 World Athletics Championships is staged successfully in a newly built national athletics stadium. The stadium plus other facilities, including a high performance centre for athletics, will together form the national athletics centre and be the home of athletics in this country. The council has agreed, in principle, to give financial revenue support for the operation of the stadium in return for tangible benefits to local people some of which are explored below.


  2.1  The Council has two key statutory roles in relation to the project:

  2.1.1  As the local planning authority—Picketts Lock falls within the boundaries of the London Borough of Enfield therefore it will be the Council which determines the planning application for the stadium and its associated facilities (subject to the powers of direction of the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions and of the Mayor of London). The Picketts Lock site is designated in the Council's unitary development plan (UDP) as located within the Green Belt, an area of special character, an area of archaeological importance and an area of community need. The Council, in working closely with the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and UK Athletics to assist the project, is taking great care not to compromise its role as the planning authority and has produced a Picketts Lock Planning Brief as supplementary planning guidance in order to spell out planning policy in this area.

  2.1.2  From the current stadium project plan an application for outline planning permission is anticipated in May of this year. Since this development is of such importance to the country the Council is urging the Government Office for London and the Greater London Authority to work with the Council to achieve early agreement on the principles of planning policy relevant to a Picketts Lock planning application. This should be done well in advance of submission so that the application can be decided with the speed necessary to deliver this nationally important project on schedule.

  2.2  As the local licensing authority—under the terms of the 1975 Safety In Sports Grounds Act the local authority is obliged to set up a safety committee comprising all of the statutory emergency services and, on the advice of the committee, to issue a general safety certificate which permits the use of the stadium for events. The Council has already set up a "shadow" safety committee which is currently working with the design team for the stadium to ensure that safety issues are considered throughout the design process.


  3.1  The Council regards the hosting of the World Athletics Championships in a newly constructed national athletics stadium as a major regeneration opportunity for the borough and the north-east London sub-region. The World Championships will raise the awareness of the borough and give it a positive profile provided government and the various partners work together to ensure that Picketts Lock is seen as the right venue. It is not a second best option arising from the decision not to accommodate athletics at Wembley for 2005. Rather, it offers the prospect of a stadium, purpose built for the 21st century, specifically designed for athletics. Not only is this good for sport but it will, in turn, have a positive impact for London. In addition, the World Championships will attract many thousands of visitors to the borough and it is important that they gain a good impression of the area, enjoy their stay, and hopefully return in the future. The Council will play a leading role in making this happen.

  3.2  In the longer term the Council is committed in its support for the long-term success of the stadium and associated facilities. There are two mutually interdependent and reinforcing issues that will determine the scale of the longer term regenerative impact of the stadium. In the first instance, the design and content of the stadium will determine the patterns and type of use after the 2005 World Championships. The greater the flexibility of use and ancillary facilities that can be built in to the greater the long term commercial viability and thereby its impact on the local and sub regional economies.

  3.3  Secondly, the future commercial viability of the stadium is inextricably linked to the improvement of the local transport infrastructure. The existing transport links in the area are relatively poor which is why 90 per cent of people visiting the existing Picketts Lock Leisure Centre come by car. Enfield Council views staging the World Championships and the location of the national athletics stadium as an important catalyst for the promotion of two transport infrastructure schemes:

  3.3.1  Rail infrastructure improvements that will open up better links with Stansted Airport, the expansion of which is expected to generate thousands of new job opportunities in the next few years. A new station at Picketts Lock, which together with improved rail links, would significantly increase the attractiveness of the area to business and access to employment opportunities for local people.

  3.3.2  The Northern Gateway Access Road (NGAR) linking the North/South Road (on which the stadium is sited) to the M25 to the north of the borough. This will improve congestion on local roads and substantially open up the northern Lee Valley to the Stansted/Cambridge corridor and beyond.

  3.4  It is anticipated that the stadium will create significant employment opportunities in a variety of different ways:

  3.4.1  Direct jobs—through design and construction of the stadium and also at the new Middlesex University campus at Tottenham Hale which will provide the accommodation for the athletes in 2005;

  3.4.2  Linkage jobs—arising from the sourcing of goods and services for the stadium at both the construction and operational phases. The extent of these will depend on the structure of the local economy. The Council will seek a clear commitment to local procurement wherever practicable;

  3.4.3  Multiplier jobs—generated through spending in the local economy of salaries and wages by those employed directly and indirectly during both the construction and operational phases;

  3.4.4  Induced jobs—created as a result of spending by visitors in the local area additional to any spend at the venue. These jobs would generally be anticipated in the hospitality and retail sectors but could also benefit local transport providers.

  3.4.5  Indirect jobs—in addition to the jobs created by the stadium and its operation the area could benefit from upgraded rail infrastructure which will improve links to the City and Stansted.

  3.5  A socio-economic impact assessment has recently been commissioned by the Council and other partners to provide a more informed view of the employment opportunities and the quality and depth of the local skills base against anticipated needs. The assessment will also look at the ability of local companies to respond to the commercial opportunities that may arise from the stadium development.


  4.1  In order to build the athletics stadium the Picketts Lock Leisure Centre will have to be demolished. This building, owned and operated by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, has over one million users each year of which 60 per cent are borough residents. The Council will strive to ensure that the new stadium plus the high performance centre will provide facilities for local people, and has given, in principle, support for revenue funding on this basis. The Council views the stadium and World Championships as a way to improve the profile of sport and fitness within the area and will work to ensure that this is built into health improvement strategies.

  4.2  Facilities are likely to include the use of the warm-up track plus health and fitness facilities. For those users of the leisure centre who cannot be accommodated the Council and the Park Authority will work together with the objective to re-provide their activities at other local facilities. Enfield Council will be opening a new leisure centre in early 2002 which is within three miles of Picketts Lock. In addition, the current swimming pool at Edmonton, a mile from Picketts Lock, will be demolished and replaced with a new pool and sports hall and this should be ready by 2004. It is hoped that these two centres will be able to accommodate the majority of the current leisure centre users.

  4.3  Clearly local schools will want to make the most use of the facilities especially to train and compete in after school athletics at the venue of the World Championships. Other stadia around the country are used by local schools as the base for homework clubs to encourage children to continue with self study beyond the school day.

  4.4  Schools in Enfield and across London will also have the opportunity to maximise the World Athletics Championships within the delivery of the curriculum where opportunities exist for developing links between the event and, for example, the national strategies for literacy, numeracy and ICT. Links with schools in other countries across the Internet coming to the Championships in Enfield could be included in the curriculum delivery of information technology, history and geography as well as numerous links with science, physical education, health, and citizenship education. These opportunities will involve a wider audience across London who could potentially benefit from the interactive learning opportunities, materials and information generated from the Championships. Enfield would strongly support a London wide approach to this development and would play its part in ensuring that the World Athletics Championships are seen as a major stimulus to the curriculum for all young people.

  4.5  Beyond this the stadium could be the catalyst for a north London sports action zone and also stimulate the development of a sports college in the area. This, in turn, could promote the development of a network of sports colleges across north London. The stadium could also play an important part as a venue supporting in-service training for teachers and coaches to raise standards in athletics and a variety of other sports.


  5.1  Enfield Council has a statutory role as the local planning authority and local licensing authority for Picketts Lock and will undertake these roles impartially and rigorously.

  5.2  The Council welcomes and supports the development of the national athletics centre, at Picketts Lock, and is working to ensure that it can be accommodated within national and regional planning policies and the policies of the UDP. The Council views the development as being in accordance with its strategic plan for the regeneration of Eastern Enfield and of the Upper Lee Valley.

  5.3  The Council asks that government takes a proactive role to ensure that there is good co-ordination, so that when the planning application is made the Government Office for London and the Greater London Authority can make their decisions over their powers of direction in the minimum possible time.

  5.4  Enfield Council is looking forward to welcoming the world to the Athletics Championships in 2005 and to use this as an opportunity to show how sport can be a catalyst for health improvement, social and economic regeneration.

  5.5  Finally, the Council wishes to encourage government and other regional partners to vigorously promote Picketts Lock as the best venue for the World Championships.

February 2001

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