Picketts Lock, Lee Valley
Field result goes here In order to find an alternative
venue for London to stage the 2005 WAC, a site selection process
was got underway in early 2000. Sport England and UK Athletics
facilitated the process, which included input from the London
2005 Bid Committee, the Government Office for London, UK Sport,
London International Sport and the BOA.
On 31 January 2000 UK Athletics submitted a bid to
the IAAF for the 2005 WAC based around an unnamed, and unchosen,
suitable venue in London. At this stage the outline bid provided
Twickenham as a further name for the IAAF to conjure with as the
likely venue (with Ellerbe Becket as the architects for the design).
However, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority was approached in
February 2000 by Sport England and asked to submit a proposal
for a stadium at Picketts Lock, North East London.
The RPA was already in the process of seeking a proposal for a
redevelopment of the site as the 27 year-old leisure centre there
had come to the end of its useful life.
After exploring possible options comprising Picketts
Lock, Hackney Wick, Crystal Palace,
Southall, the Linford Christie Stadium, RAF Northolt, Cricklewood,
Hillingdon House Farm and Twickenham, at a meeting chaired by
the then Secretary of State on 24 March, UK Athletics announced
their preference for Picketts Lock. Sport England were not involved
in the actual decision-making process so as to be in a position
to approach the Lottery grant application without prejudice. However,
Sport England had produced a pre-selection briefing note on the
site options on 23 March. In this paper the potential risks relating
to Picketts Lock were set out and included: Green Belt planning
issues, transport infrastructure, and athletes' accommodation.
At this stage, Picketts Lock's outline capital costs were between
£90 million and £120 million as against the available
Lottery funding which had been sketched out as £60 million
by Sport England. This indicative figure comprised £40 million
as the estimated capital costs of staging the WAC at Wembley and
the £20 million to return from the Football Association.
On 2 and 3 April 2000 UK Athletics made two bids
to the IAAF Council in Paris: the first with Birmingham City Council
and UK Sport for the March 2003 World Indoor Championships; and
the second with UK Sport and representatives from DCMS, the Prime
Minister, Lee Valley and Enfield Council for the 2005 championships.
Both bids were accepted by the IAAFthe second on the condition
that UK Athletics could demonstrate for the IAAF clear progress
on the stadium by October 2001.
On 26 June 2000 the Lee Valley Stadium Forum first
met, chaired by the Minister for Sport, Kate Hoey MP, and attended
by a multiplicity of interested parties: DCMS, Sport England,
Lee Valley RPA, London Borough of Enfield, the Government Office
for London, the GLA, Transport for London, UK Sport, London 2005
and the BOA. The purpose of the Forum was to share information
rather than to drive the project. At this first meeting a few
key risks were highlighted as significant, principally the twin
challenges of shortfalls in both estimated long-term revenue and
the required capital funding for the project.
On 2 November the previous Select Committee announced
a further inquiry into the staging of international sporting events,
which included the arrangements for the staging of the WAC in
On 22 December 2000, Sir Rodney Walker was appointed
Chairman of WNSL and began tenure by holding a review of the whole
Wembley project, including a formal reappraisal of Wembley's ability
to accommodate athletics. At this stage the then Secretary of
State wrote to the Lee Valley RPA to reassure them that, in his
view, Picketts Lock still offered the best option for hosting
the UK WAC in 2005.
Sir Rodney announced on 18 January that, although a major athletics
event could be held at Wembley, he could not guarantee that the
stadium would be ready in time to stage the championships in 2005.
In evidence to the present inquiry, Sir Rodney stated that, after
his review, on 1 February 2001 he asked the Secretary of State
"whether or not they would like me to explore the possibility
of reintroducing athletics into Wembley. As I was advised that
a decision had been made that athletics would not form part of
Wembley Stadium, and that there was a commitment to an athletics
stadium in London for the World Athletics Championships, from
that moment it has not formed any part of my serious deliberations."
He added that this was before he was presented with the improved
athletics platform design by the World Stadium Team which he did
not take back to Government.
On 14 March 2001 the then Secretary of State announced
that Wembley National Stadium would not be the venue for WAC 2005
and that £60 million was available from Sport England for
world class athletics.
The Mayor of London informed UK Athletics that he would be unable
to act as guarantor for the costs of the event.
During the previous Committee's inquiry, UK Athletics stated that
the then Secretary of State had assured them that the event contract
would be underwritten, and that he would take a lead in ensuring
that this happened. They also understood him to mean that he had
accepted the responsibility of finding third-party funding to
bridge the capital funding shortfall.
Mr Smith told the Committee on 21 March 2001 that "I am absolutely
confident that we are properly on track".
The Minister of Sport, Kate Hoey, MP, described the under-writing
of the event as a "technicality" suggesting that it
could be UK Sport who signed on the understanding that the Government
could be relied on to "bail them out".
There is no evidence as to the authority with which the then Minister
for Sport was committing the Government to underwriting a London
World Athletics Championships through UK Sport.
On 30 March 2000, the Committee published its third
Report on these matters.
In relation to Picketts Lock the Committee highlighted seven challenges:
a shortfall in the assembled capital funding; the lack of an underwriter
for the event; the quality of the stadium; transport and infrastructure
issues; the short timetable; the long term sustainability of the
stadium; and the demand it would represent for events currently
held in different venues around the country.
For a third time the Committee recommended a dedicated Minister
for Events and criticised the overlapping responsibilities in
the governance of sport in the UK.
On 4 May 2001 the Secretary of State announced a
commitment of £8 million to the National Athletics Stadium
at Picketts Lock from the Capital Modernisation Fund (CMF). However,
this funding was to be contingent on the remaining gap in capital
funding being bridged, and would not be made available until 2002/2003.
London Marathon Trust announced they would provide revenue support
on 6 May 2001. Lee Valley RPA issued a press release stating the
cost of Picketts Lock would be £97.3 million, £10 million
of which being off-site costs. The issues of the funding gap and
lack of underwriting remained unresolved. On 29 May, with a general
election approaching, the Lee Valley RPA wrote again to the Secretary
of State asking for Government action in resolving the outstanding
issues. The Labour
Party Manifesto was issued at this time containing a commitment
to hosting the 2005 WAC with first class facilities; there was
no reference to London.
On 4 June 2001, Lee Valley RPA made their formal
Lottery application to Sport England for the balance of the £67
million Lottery allocation. They also requested funding to ensure
continuity in the project from that point until the end of 2004
in order to deliver it successfully against a demanding timetable.
A general election was held on 7 June 2001 and the next day The
Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP and The Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP were appointed
as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister
for Sport, respectively, replacing The Rt Hon Chris Smith MP and
Kate Hoey MP.
From Picketts Lock to Sheffield
Field result goes here On 18 June 2001, at a
joint meeting between Sport England and the Lottery Panel, a decision
on the formal Picketts Lock Lottery fund application was deferred.
Sport England told the Committee that they had not felt they could
approve the lottery application having identified areas of concern
in November 2000 which they did not believe had been tackled by
the Lee Valley RPA.
These were: the capital costs, funding gap and underwriting issues;
the planning and transport issues; the long term legacy and revenue
funding issues; and the sporting legacy and impact on other UK
venues. Sport England was concerned that, as experience with other
projects with tight deadlines has shown, the actual costs could
rise above £97million Sport England met the new Secretary
of State to bring to her attention their strong reservations and
concern that the project would not meet the criteria for Lottery
applications. The Secretary of State agreed with the Chairman
of Sport England that Mr Patrick Carter, who had been asked to
undertake a review of the national stadium issue, should also
review Picketts Lock on behalf of Sport England to see if the
concerns raised were issues that could be successfully dealt with.
After informing the IAAF that the review would be
taking place, on 25 June the Secretary of State announced its
terms of reference (agreed with Sport England): "In the light
of the Government's manifesto commitment to ensure that a first
class athletics stadium is available for the World Athletics Championships
in 2005, [to] determine whether the Lee Valley National Athletics
Centre project can be funded and managed in its current format,
[and to] determine what alternatives might be feasible".
On 2 July, with the Carter review underway, Sport England again
deferred any decision on Lottery funds for Picketts Lock. At this
stage Picketts Lock project funding was at an end and all work
by the Lee Valley RPA ceased. This Committee announced its inquiry
into the staging of the 2005 WAC at Picketts Lock on 23 July 2001.
In August 2001 the Sports Minister, Mr Caborn, met
the IAAF at the World Athletics Championships in Edmonton. The
media at the time reported that Mr Caborn had reaffirmed the UK
Government's commitment to staging the 2005 World Athletics Championships
in London. Also in
Edmonton were members of the Lee Valley RPA on a fact-finding
mission. So was the Head of Sheffield Major Events following Sheffield's
involvement in Patrick Carter's review of alternatives to Picketts
Mr Patrick Carter delivered his report to Sport England
and Ministers on 31 August 2001. The report recommended:
" If Government intends to enter
into the contract for the 2005 WAC on the basis of a Picketts
Lock location, the transport and accommodation provision and budgets
require urgent investigation. It is however, unlikely that the
financial implications will be fully known before a commitment
must be made
A decision must be reached quickly in
order to begin the long design and build process allowing time
for handover for test events. Delays could rule out certain of
the options, and add to the cost
Move the event if the IAAF agree
If the IAAF will not agree, Government
should consider the risk of withdrawing from the event
UK Athletics and the Sports Councils
should consider an alternative investment in athletics development,
using the savings from not holding the WAC at Picketts Lock."
On 4 October the Secretary of State met UK Athletics
to advise them of the decision that Lee Valley was not viable
as a venue for the 2005 WAC. UK Athletics agreed to the offer
of Sheffield to the IAAF as an alternative venue. Lee Valley RPA
and the London Borough of Enfield were allowed one hour's briefing
on Mr Carter's report before meeting the Secretary of State to
be told of the decision.
Sport England then published Mr Carter's report (in so far as
it related to Picketts Lock) alongside a Government announcement
of the proposed switch to Sheffield. We note that UK Sport were
left to print the summary of the report off the website, having
been almost completely ignored by the Carter review team.
This may explain the claim by Mr Carter that, throughout the review,
he remained unaware of any policy or strategy which set out why
the UK sought to stage major sporting events.
On 5 October the Secretary of State, Minister for
Sport, Chairman of Sport England, Patrick Carter and UK Athletics
met Mr Lamine Diack and Mr Istvan Gyulai, President and General
Secretary of the IAAF, on their way home from the Birmingham Half-Marathon,
at Heathrow Airport. The Government proposed that the WAC should
move to Sheffield, that the IAAF biannual congress should be staged
in London and that the IAAF might be able to help with the development
of a bursary programme for athletes in developing countries.
Mr Diack advised that the IAAF would be unlikely to be able to
transfer the event to another city in the UK and would be required
to reopen the bidding process afresh. Decisions, however, could
not be taken except by the IAAF Council which next met on 26 November.
On 23 October, in evidence to us, the Secretary of
State announced a review by the Performance and Innovation Unit
within the Cabinet Office (PIU) of the policy in relation to the
bidding for, and staging of, major events.
7 Staging International Sporting Events,
HC 124, 1998-99 (May 1999); Wembley National Stadium, HC
164, 1999-2000 (March 2000); Staging International Sporting
Events, HC 286, 2000-01 (March 2001). Back
164, 1999-2000, paras 4-5. Back
para 6. Back
the English National Stadium Development Company. Back
164, 1999-2000, para 10. Back
Ev, pp 60-62. Back
"the Committee" includes the previous Committee in the
1997 Parliament except where a distinction is necessary. Back
164, 1999-2000, para 17. Back
Ev, p 56-57. Back
Ev, p 79. Back
British Athletics Foundation went into administration in December
124, 1998-99, para 129. Back
207/99, 29 July 1999. Back
164, 1999-2000, Q 322. Back
Ev, p 59. Back
Ev, p 60. Back
Deb, 1 December 1999, C306ff. Back
164, 1999-2000, para 107 and Q 332. Back
paras 97, 98. Back
para 109 and Q 333, 336, 350. Back
para 109. Back
310/99, 22 December 1999. Back
p 109 and HC 164, 1999-2000, para 81. Back
164, 1999-2000 and HC 286, 2000-01. Back
164, 1999-2000, paras 70, 139. Back
49/2000 and HC Deb, 14 March 2000, col 154w. Back
286, 2000-01, para 49. Back
p 18-19. Back
p 133. Back
p 124. Back
310/99, 22 December 1999. Back
164, 1999-2000, para 113. Back
p 87. Back
41 Ibid. Back
286-I, 2000-01, para 133. Back
p 129. Back
p 120. Back
286-II, 2000-01, Ev, p 19. Back
p 88. Back
p 89. Back
286-II, 2000-01, Q 60. Back
p 36. Back
Deb, 14 March 2001, 364, C651w. Back
286, 2000-01, para 128. Back
para 130. Back
286-II, 2000-01, Q 451. Back
286-II, 2000-01, Q 512. Back
286, 2000-01. Back
286, 2000-01, paras 137-144. Back
286-I, 2000-01, para 184. Back
p 90. Back
p 91. Back
p 58. Back
p 120. Back
p 26. Back
for instance Evening Standard, 3 August and Evidence, p
p 26. Back
p 91. Back
p 109 and Q 134. Back
p 66. Back
69 Ibid. Back