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

Annex 1



  1.  This paper summarises the results of work required following the meeting chaired by the Secretary of State at DCMS on 15 March 2000. It provides briefing notes for the meeting to be chaired by the Secretary of State on 24 March, at which UK Athletics plans for presenting the bid for the 2005 World Athletics Championships will be discussed. UK Athletics need to finalise proposals for presentation to the IAAF on 3 April 2000.


  2.  The Secretary of State summarised the outcome of the meeting as follows:

    2.1  RAF Uxbridge, RAF Northolt, Cricklewood and Rainham Marshes would no longer be considered;

    2.2  Further consideration would be given to Lee Valley (Picketts Lock and Hackney Wick), Hillingdon House Farm, Crystal Palace and Twickenham;

    2.3  Lee Valley and Hillingdon were considered front runners, whilst Crystal Palace and Twickenham were considered as reserve options;

    2.4  Further work would be undertaken to reconcile the cost estimates of UK Athletics and Sport England, set out in papers circulated before the meeting. A view on the level of quality to be achieved would be required.

  3.  The timetable was dictated by UK Athletics need to conclude decisions in time to make a presentation to the IAAF on 3 April 2000.


  4.  The following work has been undertaken:

    4.1  Sport England, DCMS and UK Athletics met on 16 March to consider the way forward.

    4.2  On 17 March, Sport England, on behalf of DCMS and UK Athletics, wrote to the five sites nominated at the 15 March meeting, including Twickenham, setting out the information required to assist in the determination of the way forward.

    4.3  On 21 March, UK Athletics, DCMS and Sport England met with four of the sites to discuss their proposals in more detail. A further meeting on the same day between UK Athletics, Sport England and respective design and cost consultants considered the UK Athletics brief, design, quality and cost issues.

    4.4  Written responses were received from each of the sites, including Twickenham, by 23 March.

  5.  In addition, there have been further discussions and meetings to facilitate the process, DCMS have co-ordinated the input of the Government Office for London.


  6.  Various reports are appended to this paper, setting out the results of the work undertaken:

    6.1  Appendix one—summary tables of sites assessed against issues set out in letter;

    6.2  Appendix two—response letters received from each site (not printed).


  7.  The key issue is for UK Athletics to determine what to present to the IAAF on 3 April—two key issues have to be addressed:

    7.1  What is the brief and can it be funded? Based upon the current UK Athletics brief, and associated views on quality, the project is likely to cost in excess of £100 million, plus any site and infrastructure costs. Alternative solutions based upon upgrading existing stadia at Crystal Palace or Twickenham could be provided at substantially lower cost if changes to the brief are acceptable to UK Athletics.

    7.2  What site option, or combination of options can be presented to the IAAF? At this stage, it is not possible to conclude with certainty whether any of the five options is deliverable within the key constraints of budget, programme and quality. Planning and funding issues dominate, and more detailed work, ideally on a number of sites, is required before a final decision can be made with any degree of certainty. However, the recent exercise has provided additional information which should help to clarify the issues applicable to each site, and to assess risks to the UK Athletics bid to the IAAF.


  8.  UK Athletics have developed a brief for the project, which includes:

    8.1  The development of a stadium with a permanent capacity of 20-25,000 seats, to meet IAAF standards, and with standards acceptable to UK Athletics, for example in relation to spectator sightlines;

    8.2  The ability to add (probably from the outset) a further 25-30,000 seats on a temporary basis (to achieve 50,000 capacity), which will then be removed after the World Championships;

    8.3  The option of adding a retractable roof to the remaining 20-25,000 seat stadium;

    8.4  The provision of a 400 metre warm up facility, either on a temporary or permanent basis, with additional space for throws event warm up;

    8.5  The consideration of using the stadium as an Olympic venue if a future Olympic bid for London is successful.

  9.  At the 15 March meeting, UK Athletics reported a cost estimate of £67 million related to this brief. At a further meeting on 21 March, the cost estimates were discussed, and a number of items were identified which need to be added to the cost plan. (The cost estimate is based upon the shell and core/structure works only). In addition, the level of quality to be achieved was discussed, UK Athletics confirming that a similar quality to the Cardiff Millennium Stadium would be appropriate. On this basis, further work has been undertaken to review the added items of cost, and the following cost estimate has been prepared:


Cost estimate (£)
UK Athletics base cost
UK Athletics estimate from 21 March meeting
External works
Additional roof covering
Conversion costs 50-20,000 seats
Inc operational and facilities fit out
Warm up facilities
UK Athletics estimate
Internal M&E (HVAC)
Site preparation and demolition
Site dependent (assumes brownfield site)
Track equipment
Sub total
Add prelims, overheads, profit, fees, contingencies and project management
10 per cent on base dates
Other costs—site acquisition, section 106, infrastructure
site dependent
Retractable roof

  10.  The cost estimates are highly indicative at this early stage, and need to be reviewed alongside the development of the brief. However, a number of key issues have emerged:

    10.1  the brief will need to be reviewed to explore the technical feasibility of the proposals to convert the stadium from 50,000 to a permanent legacy of 20,000 seats;

    10.2  the economic viability of the proposals will need to be reviewed based upon UK Athletics event profile, and other potential uses for the stadium;

    10.3  there is a substantial funding requirement which will need to be addressed at an early stage.

  11.  The costs are also based upon a starting point of UK Athletics estimates. To verify the exercise, a further independent costing of the brief estimated costs of £130 million for the stadium, with an additional allowance of £31 million for subsequent conversion from 50,000 to 20,000 seats. Nevertheless, whichever cost base is used, it is apparent that there is a substantial funding requirement for which there is no identified source at the current time.

  12.  As the project moves forward, it will be necessary for the brief and cost plan to be reviewed in detail, against the following issues:

    12.1  Technical feasibility and design quality;

    12.2  Value for money;

    12.3  Viability, in capital and revenue terms;

    12.4  UK Athletics legacy aspirations;

    12.5   "Added value" from partnerships with other sporting uses, and wider benefits which could accrue to the project (which may attract additional sources of funding).

  13.  The cost estimates apply to the brief related to new build options (principally the Picketts Lock, Hillingdon and Hackney Wick proposals). Crystal Palace and Twickenham offer the possibility of upgrading existing facilities, although the new build option is also possible at Crystal Palace. A key issue will be UK Athletics assessment of the suitability of the proposals against the brief, both for the World Championships and the long term legacy aspirations of the sport. The cost estimates put forward for Crystal Palace and Twickenham are:

    13.1  Crystal Palace—London Borough of Bromley estimates—stadium development £21 million, plus infrastructure costs of £22 million—total £43 million. An initial assessment of the cost estimates suggests that an additional allowance will be required for temporary seats which is likely to increase the overall cost to over £50 million. In addition, further assessment of the infrastructure cost is required, together with an assessment of the relationship of these proposals to the existing scheme at Crystal Palace (which may reduce the cost overall).

    13.2  Twickenham—RFU estimate—£22.5 million, includes for redevelopment of the south stand, increase in capacity to 80,000 for rugby and 74,000 for athletics. However, the RFU cost estimate lists 12 exclusions from the cost plan, which are likely to increase the cost to approx. £48 million —this is similar to the RFUs own cost estimate suggested for a similar scheme put forward in December 1999. In addition, the view of GOL is that there would be substantial transport infrastructure costs related to transport improvements in the surrounding area.

  14.  In summary, the overall costs, based upon UK Athletics requirements, are likely to be in the range:

    14.1  New build (Picketts Lock, Hillingdon, Hackney Wick)—£122 million.

    14.2  Crystal Palace—£30 million (£21 million plus indicative allowance for temporary seating), plus infrastructure.

    14.3  Twickenham—£48 million plus infrastructure (previously estimated by GOL at approx. £100 million, based upon extensions to the underground network).


Picketts Lock

  15.  This option provides an accessible site sufficient to accommodate the brief, and a sponsor able to offer the site, project management, partnership in the future use and operation of the facility and the prospect of a capital and revenue contribution. Potential university developments may resolve athlete accommodation needs.

  16.  However, potential risks include the need to address the Green Belt issues in planning terms, provide additional transport infrastructure, and meet decontamination costs (as yet unknown, although unlikely to be substantial). The UDP revision suggests the Green Belt issue could be resolved provided that the scale of development on the site is not substantially increased. This may involve accepting low density development with the emphasis on community use, and an assessment of whether there are other suitable sites in the London catchment to satisfy Green Belt policy. In addition, athlete accommodation proposals are at an early stage.

Crystal Palace

  17.  This option provides a pragmatic, lower cost solution combining a permanent 20,000 seat solution and 20-25,000 temporary seats. The scale and layout also provide ease of segregation between athletes and spectators. No acquisition costs, and potential linkage with institute use provide additional advantages. Recent transport improvements and SRB commitments improve the accessibility of the site.

  18.  However, key issues remain the accessibility of the site by road from West End hotels (a UK Athletics bid issue), and identifying the location of the athletes village (although a number of potential sites were suggested in discussion, based on a split site). UK Athletics aspirations for a new build stadium with retractable roof are not favoured by LB Bromley although they did not rule out options if proved viable and not intrusive in the context of the park as a whole. No additional capital contribution likely from LB Bromley, and revenue contribution depends on the outcome of discussions between LB Bromley, neighbouring boroughs and Sport England.

Hillingdon House Farm

  19.  The site offers a "green field" site close to A40/M25 access. Some potential for a revenue contribution.

  20.  However, it is also Green Belt, and could be a substantial planning risk. LB Hillingdon were realistic about the risks associated with achieving a successful outcome by 2005. In addition, LB Hillingdon role is passive in terms of the development, and UK Athletics would probably have to lead the project vehicle, and accept the associated development/operational risks. Local access to A40 poor, and wider benefits limited.

Hackney Wick

  21.  A key strength is the level of support and the emerging partnership involving the developer, local authority, Lee Valley Partnership, commercial partners and regeneration agencies. A strong team with a focus on the wider benefits to the area. Strong transport links (current or planned), both rail and road. Offers a large scale development which provides potential for the sport to occupy a world class venue. Potentially a strong project vehicle, with a willingness to tackle key issues, for example athlete accommodation.

  22.  However, the developer was unwilling (at the meeting) to downgrade the plans to accommodate the UK Athletics legacy aspiration of 20,000 seats. (Note—since the meeting, they have confirmed that they will accept the brief). The potential partnership with football may conflict with athletics longer term requirements. The developer maintains the project is viable, although this is likely to be dependent on concluding suitable arrangements with a Premiership football club. The probable need for the developer to realise the value of the site may present problems, as is the need for additional land to be acquired to meet the wider objectives of the scheme.


  23.  Key advantage is the existence of a proven stadium operation and lower cost of conversion as opposed to other new build options.

  24.  However, planning issues are likely to be problematic, and costs of infrastructure developments will require substantial Government commitments (although GOL consider SW London a low priority). Based upon the current proposals, it is GOLs view (23 March) that any development of the South Stand is likely to require substantial transport improvements, even if the increase in stadium capacity is relatively small. In addition, this solution does not provide for UK Athletics legacy aspirations. Whilst it may provide a permanent track in the stadium, this is likely to be used on only one occasion for athletics, with unacceptable sightlines in large sections of the stadium (17,000 seats below C60).


The Site
Size of the site125 acres.
Current ownershipLee Valley Park, use for leisure centre and golf course, plus two areas under lease to cinema and restaurant.
Land Acquisition/Clearance costsNo acquisition costs.

£500,000 clearance and site preparation.

Decontamination (metal workings)—cost unknown.
The Project
Brief and event profileAble to meet brief, incorporated within larger regional and community sport/leisure complex.
Olympic issuesDoes not rule out Olympic potential.
Planning, Regeneration and Transportation
(See previous papers on planning and transportation issues)
Planning statusGreen Belt, but UDP supports more intensive recreational use (in line with Lee Valley Park Act). Would require improved access and landscaping.
Transport capacityRail—London-Stansted line—nearest station within 1 kilometre, but would need new station at Picketts Lock.

Underground—via Tottenham Hale (three miles), connection by rail.

Road—15 mins M25 and M11, five minutes North Circular Road.

Car parking—about 1,100 on site.
Wider benefitsLee Valley regeneration corridor, an objective 2 area. May attract funds.
Project Organisation/Viability
PartnershipsLee Valley have links with the Lee Valley Partnership and LB Enfield. Preferred structure would be Lee Valley acting as landlord, leasing the site to a Trust or other SPV—Lee Valley, UK Athletics and Enfield could be members. May consider direct responsibility but generally moving away from this approach.
Project managementWould be prepared to manage the project.
Capital contributionWould consider a capital contribution (current capital programme represents 30 per cent of their budget—approx £14 million per year committed to current capital programmes).
Facility managementSee above on partnerships.
Revenue contributionCurrent Picketts Lock centre costs "several hundred thousand" per year to run. Dependent on the facility mix, may consider a contribution, but looking to reduce current level of commitment. This contribution is likely to be required as free standing athletics stadium traditionally operate at a deficit.
24 March 2000

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