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

Annex 5

Letter, January 2001, from the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to the Chairman of Sport England


  Thank you for your letter of 9 January. I am grateful for your reassurance that the Council is continuing to support the feasibility work on the Lee Valley Stadium project. I fully understand the Council's concern about the release of lottery funding to support the feasibility work and it is for the Council to decide how to arrange its lottery awards. I would, however, be concerned if the Council's intention to release only minimal expenditure to the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority were to lead to a further delay before the Park Authority and UK Athletics are in a position to appoint the design team and to the project as a whole.

  As you know, Sir Rodney Walker, the new Chairman of Wembley National Stadium Ltd, is looking seriously at the viability of bringing back athletics to Wembley for the 2005 World Athletics Championships and combining this with legacy stadium on the site of the warm up track needed for the 2005 World Championships. He has held discussions with a wide range of parties and I understand he has recently met Derek Casey to discuss his ideas. It is not clear, from my discussion with him on 10 January, whether he will be able to present UK Athletics with a viable proposal which meets their particular requirements and which overcomes the problems relating to athletics in the previous Wembley design which the Government identified in December 1999. Sir Rodney has said he needs more time to work through all the key legal, financial and design issues which would arise if athletics was to return but is fully aware of the need to conclude his review as soon as possible to end the continuing speculation.

  I would of course be happy to meet you and Derek to discuss this, if you would find it helpful. In the meantime it is vital that momentum is maintained on the Lee Valley Stadium project. I agree entirely with your view that the priority is to secure the best possible option for the 2005 World Athletics Championships.

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