Examination of Witnesses (Questions 140
THURSDAY 1 MARCH 2001
BROOKING CBE, MR
140. Can I ask what you think about the dates
for Picketts Lock? Is it going to be ready or is it not? Whilst
you answer that can I ask about Crystal Palace? What is going
to happen to Crystal Palace?
(Ms Simmonds) If I could pick up on that. We had one
feasibility study on Picketts Lock, and we have another feasibility
study which is expected to report back in May of this year. Once
that feasibility study has been looked at and assessed by the
Lottery Panel along the lines of our usual criteria, which is
to look at financial need, eligibility, and value for money, then
a decision will be made to take that project forward (hopefully)
and then it will go on to its building stage. With regard to Crystal
Palace, they came forward with a project some time ago then got
delayed because of the decision about whether it would or would
not host the World Athletics Championships. We are now talking
to Crystal Palace about a scheme which will be for the English
Institute of Sport with very much a regional facility with local
use, community use, with around £21 million, and the Lottery
Panel has given it "in principle" support and we are
now discussing with Bromley, and the other local authorities involved
there, partnership funding.
(Mr Brooking) I think the important thing to remember
on the feasibility study is that since the Picketts Lock project
has come to light there has been a huge conflict of viewpoints
and there are a number of conditions we want to emerge from the
feasibility study, and one concerns athletics itself. Wherever
I travel around the country you get completely different verdicts
of what they think, whether Picketts Lock should happen, whether
it should have the World Athletics Championships and what that
will mean to the regions. Although David, as UK Athletics, is
saying he thinks it is a good idea, lots of other areas of athletics
have different viewpoints. We have to get unity from the governing
body itself to make sure that is clarified. Certainly funding
and the funding gap is an issue. How will that be achieved? Quality
is a key factor because again if there is a World Athletics Championship
at Picketts Lock, we want to go there and feel very proud of the
facility. We do not want to go with our cloaks over our heads
embarrassed because of the quality of the facility. So quality
is another issue, so is viability, value for money, revenue funding,
all of those are conditions which we need to get clarified so
that we can come to a decision. When it eventually comes to the
Lottery Panel it is all those issues they have got to decide on
as to whether they give it support.
141. Even at this stage you have got to draw
the feasibility studies together, then it has got to get planning
permission and that could be six to 12 months and could really
(Ms Simmonds) The feasibility study will take it to
RBIA stage C which means you will have outline planning permission
at that stage. That will happen before the results come back to
us as a Panel.
142. I have had a letter from the British Wheelchair
Sports Foundation, the Stoke Mandeville people, and I am going
to give it to the Prime Minister this afternoon. They have had
to close the centre at Stoke Mandeville and if we are not very
careful the £9 million project to build a world centre for
the Disabled Games might not happen. Could you take this back
with you and have a look at this as a matter of great urgency?
Since we did so well in Sydney it seems a shame that the administration
of Sport England and the Lottery are making it a very difficult
case for us. But that is an aside. Mr Bates has supplied us with
minutes and letters of everything he has had to do with the Wembley
thing this morning so we have been rapidly reading it whilst talking
to you. There is a comment here, Friday 20 September 1998, which
says that the Sports Council was trying to set up a Trust and
the Trust would raise money to complete this stadium on the back
of an FA covenant which is the basis for the Wembley bid. Which
set of advisers said that the Trust was the best way forward?
Which banks or which Ministers did you talk to? How did you decide
the Trust was the best way?
(Ms Simmonds) Can I pick up on Stoke Mandeville firstly
because it has come before the Lottery Panel on a number of different
occasions? I think I must declare an interest in this because
my own organisation, Business in Sport and Leisure, has raised
£200,000 for Stoke Mandeville and the new sports facilities
there, and that is part of the partnership contribution. We are
waiting for it to come back to the Panel for its final assessment
but we have given a very clear "in principle" decision
that it is a project that we want to fund.
143. I sit on the appeal committee but I tell
you you could do much more. You are doing a disservice to our
wheelchair people and I will happily talk to you afterwards. Can
we come back to the Wembley part?
(Mr Casey) I would like first of all to correct the
statement Mr Bates made because I have not been party to
144. This is an official minute of a meeting.
(Mr Casey) Perhaps we need to go back to the original
applicants for the Wembley project. The original applicants were
a consortium which was made up of the three sports which we have
discussed this morningBrent Council, Wembley plc, and their
project vehicle to take this forward was a trust. The trust, in
terms of revenue support for the project, was relying on its income
coming from the football matches at Wembley in the same way. I
think, as Mr Bates then went on to say, when he came into the
project it was felt that it would be better if there was a closer
working relationship between the Wembley development and the Football
Association. At that point WNSL was established to become the
project vehicle for the development at Wembley.
145. Let me ask the question again, the same
question really. What advice did you take on whether the Trust
was the best way forward?
(Mr Casey) We did take advice at that point.
146. Can you tell us who you took it from?
(Mr Casey) We took financial advice from consultants
and we took legal advice on the project as well, in the same way
as when WNSL was established we took financial and legal advice
about the change of project vehicle, and the decision to accept
a change of project vehicle clearly was accepted by the Sports
Council and it became the current project vehicle which we have
seen in place for the last two or three years.
147. Can we move on to Manchester which is the
largest sporting occasion we have ever hosted? There is an overspend
on the stadium. Is it true that the contractors are being paid
bit by bit, that the money is being released and as they complete
something, we pay them. Is the contractor on a fixed price contract?
Can you tell us what is going on?
(Mr Casey) Again, if I can paint the background to
Manchester, I think in terms of the operation of the Games we
can divide it into two sections: one is the provision of facilities
for the Games, and then there is the operation of the Games themselvesthe
running of the event in summer 2002. With the agreement of Manchester
City Council we have concentrated on the provision of support
for the facilities for the Games which includes those on the Eastlands
site and elsewhere. The responsibility for operating the Games
themselves rests with the City Council and its sub-committees.
As far as the contracts between ourselves and Manchester City
are concerned, then, rather like any other project which is supported
by Lottery funding, there is a capped grant. There was a capped
grant for the swimming pool and there is a capped grant for the
stadium and all the other facilities in Manchester: therefore,
if there is a cost overrun, again that is the responsibility of
the City Council and I am sure that is a point you might want
to put to the City Council.
148. Do you say to them it should be a fixed
contract in your recommendations?
(Mr Casey) I have to say it varies according to the
building project itself. I think that what has been a tendency
in the past is not necessarily a design and build contract, which
we have seen have difficulties in the past, but sometimes they
go for guaranteed maximum price contracts which sometimes include
an element of contingency in them so that if there is a cost overrun
there is a ceiling between the actual cost and the availability
of money. I know Manchester has had various discussions with contractors
on the best way forward. As far as the Lottery grant is concerned
that is capped and Manchester are aware of that position.
149. It was clear to us within about 20 minutes
when we were at Wembley that we needed to abort the whole place
and not just the small perimeter, but we have lost that opportunity.
The Millennium Stadium on Sunday was frankly a disgrace getting
in and out and at the station there were no extra trains put on
and the poor people from Birmingham and Liverpool were kept for
six to eight hours. When you talk to the people in Cardiff they
say, "That is the DETR, that is the Welsh Office": it
is never the sport. So we have a problem here because we are delivering
the facility but we are not delivering the infrastructure because
a) we do not have the money or b) we do not have the authority.
In your own thinking about future strategies do you hold with
the idea that there should be a single Minister at Cabinet level
and that there should be a single Department with a proper budget
(Mr Casey) If I can pick up several points, Mr Wyatt.
First of all, if I can perhaps go back to Manchester for a second,
clearly one of the exciting bits of the Manchester project is
what the stadium and the Sportscity project in Manchester are
going to do for the people and city of Manchester. There is a
goodwill system there. I understand that there will be an extension
of the Metro tram line in due course, and that is great. On the
back of that you will see commercial developments going into that
site, and 5,500 jobs being created. I think in a sense there is
a good model of what can happen in terms of (a) of facilities
and (b) holding a major event. As far as Wembley is concerned,
we always knew that the size of that project would act as a catalyst
for further investment, and that was going to come through the
Wembley Task Force. Our understanding is that about £100
million extra has been generated through the proposed upgrading
of London Underground. Again, you can see the catalyst effect
of the development on that site with jobs. I have to say I was
in Cardiff on Sunday and it did take some time to get home. I
think a number of lessons will have been learned about traffic
flows in Cardiff and encouraging people to come by public transport
and, hopefully, there will be more public transport when there
is a major game there. I think that we are learning lessons from
transport issues in these major projects. As far as Government
is concerned, and whether there needs to be more co-ordination,
I think we have seen the advantages of co-ordinating Government
departments with the appointment of Ian McCartney as the Minister
for the Commonwealth Games. If money sits inside Government, or
sits outside Government, I am sure that they would be asking the
same questions that we have about investment in these sorts of
projects, or at least they should be asking these questions with
the same constraints and the same responsibilities put on the
applicant for the issues that they have applied for in the first
Derek Wyatt: I certainly did not notice
150. I do not know if you have had a chance
to read the Secretary of State's evidence to us three weeks ago
when he appeared before us on the National Lottery. He gave a
ringing endorsement to the arm's length principle and the concept
that Sport England should be the distributing body, but his language
interspersed in there was strongly encouraging you as Sport England
to ensure that Picketts Lock would get the money for the scheme.
He kept referring to an "in principle" agreement, which
you have referred to this morning in terms of Stoke Mandeville.
Just how much pressure are you under from politicians to come
up with the funds?
(Ms Simmonds) Can I say as a member of the Lottery
PanelI have been a member of the Lottery Panel for six
years, since it startedwe are a very independent group,
there are about 20 of us, we come from a range of disciplines,
backgrounds, of sports. We have sports people like Garth Crooks,
Verona Elder, Steve Cram, Anita Lonsbrough, who sit on that panel.
We are very independent. There is a difference between an "in
principle" decision and an allocation in the budget. For
Picketts Lock we have allocated prudently £20 million from
151. Can I stop you right there? Are you saying
that an allocation in the budget is a lower level of agreement
than the "in principle" decision you have given to Stoke
(Ms Simmonds) Yes, I am saying that.
152. So the Secretary of State's remarks continually
that you have an "in principle" agreement with Picketts
Lock is incorrect?
(Ms Simmonds) His understanding of the words "in
principle" may be different from the way that the Lottery
Panel interprets it. The Secretary of State has not been at our
meetings when we have made those decisions. We do not feel under
any pressure from the Secretary of State to be anything other
than we are, which is independent. We have allocated £20
million from the World Class Performance Plan and £20 million
from the Community Fund and we have talked about £20 million
coming back from the FA, which would make up the £60 million.
It is very important to know that 75 per cent of funds from the
Lottery go to community projects. We have had 9,000 applications,
we have funded about 3,500 projects, we have spent over one billion
pounds, and it is exactly the sort of things at Stoke Mandeville
that we would not be able to fund if we put more money into Picketts
Lock or other facilities like that. That has been our position
and we would be happy to make that very clear to the Secretary
153. So you will abide by your criteria absolutely
(Ms Simmonds) Absolutely.
(Mr Brooking) We have made that very clear to the
Secretary of State.
154. That is excellent. You have just identified
the two areas where the £40 million will come from. Are you
concerned about how the £40 million was arrived at in the
first place, namely the supposed cost of (a) the platform and
(b) the most expensive variety of warm-up track?
(Ms Simmonds) I think Trevor looked at that figure
before. There are lots of arguments you could have about the platform.
I remember last year, when we came before you, that the architect,
Rod Sheard, made it clear that they had not actually done a lot
of development work on platform ideas and he certainly thought
its cost could have been less in the longer term, but we made
those allocations in our budget.
155. The third tranche of £20 million is
the controversial one, the one you are still seeking back from
the FA/WNSL. How are negotiations progressing there? What is your
involvement in the negotiations?
(Mr Casey) Clearly as you asked earlier, that was
essentially an agreement between the Secretary of State and Ken
Bates and subsequently the Football Association.
156. You had no initial involvement in that
decision at all?
(Mr Casey) I think that was reflected in last year's
report. Since then we have had discussions with the Football Association
and WNSL about the return of that £20 million against that
agreement. As I think you heard this morning from Sir Rodney Walker,
that lies with the Football Association and WNSL and, again, I
was encouraged to hear that he expects that £20 million will
be returned. I anticipate that will start to be returned at the
time that they sign up with the banks.
157. You would hope that it would be returned,
as the Secretary of State suggests it should be, backdated to
the original proposal? The way WNSL clearly see it is that it
will start as at the first agreement and will then be repaid in
tranches from there. It is quite an important difference because
it is about six or seven million pounds that has already slipped.
(Mr Casey) I would be happy to provide the details
on this but, from memory, the agreement with the Secretary of
State was that it would be paid over five tranches starting in
December 2000. It has slipped, but it has slipped by about two
or three months, and obviously in the context of the discussions
by WNSL and the banks that may be understandable in that sort
of timescale. I will be very happy to make sure that is the right
158. Why should professional football receive
any public money, certainly at the top when they receive enormous
sums of money through television rights and they spend that money
on producing football teams and there is certainly one example
where there is not one single English player who goes on the field
at the beginning of the match? What encouragement is that for
youngsters in this country to play the game?
(Mr Casey) Perhaps I will leave my Chairman to talk
about football in more detail. I remember that we had a similar
conversation last year on this particular point. I think you can
divide football into almost three groups. One is the Football
Association with responsibility overall, and particularly for
grass roots development, another is the Premier League, which
clearly has got a better financial base than other sports and
other clubs, and the third is the rest of the football clubs who,
as we have seen in the papers in the last few weeks, are hardly
well off in many respects. Our relationship is very much with
the Football Association and, in due course, instead of the profits
from Wembley going into Wembley plc as before, as we heard from
Bob Stubbs, they will go into the Football Association but, of
course, the nature of the Football Association is such that that
money will ultimately go into grass roots football. In a sense,
therefore, the investment in Wembley is not just to build a major
stadium, not just to get a regeneration of Brent, but in the longer
term is actually to provide a great deal of support for grass
roots football through football itself. It does mean that our
funding can be concentrated on other sports which greatly need
that support for facilities as well.
(Mr Brooking) We have persuaded football to top slice
five per cent. I am a Board member of the Football Foundation
which will be putting money into grass roots football over the
next few years with the new satellite money deal. Let us go back
to when you were talking about football. The national stadium
was for three sports and it took three or four years to get to
July 1999. At the Lottery Panel, and Brigid will know because
I was the Vice-Chairman sitting on that, we defended athletics
and protected it very strongly because we wanted them to be involved.
When it was originally envisaged I think an athletics track of
some sort was the idea but when the event usage became clear and
there was going to be only one, possibly two, events in 20 years,
that was when we had to come to a different design stage. Everybody
was on board in the summer of 1999. Whether it was a change of
the Minister or the BOA looking at how we got from 67,000 to 80,000,
the Ellerbe Becket report came out and possibly one of the problemseverybody
has mentioned time and the pace of decisionswas that I
think the design team and ourselves would have liked to have been
involved in the discussions before athletics was withdrawn. Two
key decisions were made then and we were not involved in thosea)
the £20 million was taken out and b) athletics decided to
change their mind and wanted a stand-alone stadium for the World
Athletics Championships, and so it has moved on from there.
159. When do you reasonably think that this
country has any chance of bidding for the Olympic Games?
(Mr Casey) Usually, as you know Mr Maxton, there is
a feasibility report, and that has been done by the British Olympic
Association and we hope to receive that report soon and start
discussions with the British Olympic Association. I think what
we will be interested in at that point is two things. One is the
question of the sports facilities required for the Olympic GamesI
am assuming they are sticking to Londonand the range of
facilities which are already in London, and the range of facilities
that is required. In looking at the feasibility study it is as
important, if not much more important, to look at the infrastructure
that is needed for an Olympics bid in this city, as we saw in
Barcelona and Atlanta and Sydney, and indeed the cost of the sports
facility is a relatively small percentage of the overall cost
of the Games, and therefore I think it has to be seen as a package.