Memorandum submitted by Sport England |
1.1 Sport England welcomes the Select Committee's
decision to hold an inquiry into the National Stadium for Athletics
and the proposal to locate this at Picketts Lock.
1.2 As the Committee noted in its press
release of 20 July 2001, this inquiry follows three earlier reports
of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee:
Staging International Sporting Events:
3rd Report, 2000-01.
Wembley National Stadium: 4th Report,
Staging International Sporting Events:
4th Report, 1998-99.
1.3 We have submitted written and oral evidence
to each of these previous inquiries and taken careful note of
the detailed recommendations the Committee has made. Sport England
has found these recommendations to be a useful contribution to
informing our decision-making processes.
1.4 In the evidence that follows, we have
not sought to repeat our previous submissions and trust the Committee
will refer to our past evidence for a more detailed review of
the events between 1994 and 2000 that led to the proposal for
a National Athletics Stadium to be located at Picketts Lock.
2. SPORT ENGLAND'S
2.1 Sport England is responsible for leading
and co-ordinating the development of sport in England. Our work
is shaped by the aim to have More People involved in sport,
to provide More Places to play sport, and to win More
Medals through higher standards of performance in sport.
2.2 Sport England is also the distributor
for lottery funds to sport in England. We have a statutory responsibility
to comply with financial and policy directions governing the distribution
of lottery funding laid down by the Secretary of State for Culture,
Media and Sport under relevant Acts of Parliament. This includes
the requirement that all applications for lottery funding are
assessed objectively and independently against defined criteria
eligibility of applicant (project
viability (economic sustainability
2.3 Sport England encourages the respective
governing bodies of each sport to develop strategies for their
sport, including facilities for major events. Our specific responsibility
is to advise applicants for funding, assess grant applications,
and monitor the implementation of a project's development following
the award of a grant.
2.4 The United Kingdom Sports Council was
established in 1997 with a remit that includes responsibility
to "promote the UK, or any part of it, as a venue for international
sports events and to advise, encourage and assist bodies in staging
or seeking to stage any such events". Together with governing
bodies of sport, this should provide the strategic context for
attracting major events to this country.
2.5 To assist us in determining whether
an application meets the required financial and policy criteria,
Sport England undertakes extensive consultation with key stakeholders
and commissions expert advice on issue such as planning, design
and business case modelling. We can also work with lottery applicants
before and after their bids are submitted. On large projects,
we specifically seek a partnership approach with all relevant
2.6 When considering applications, which
involve clear national and strategic sports development issues,
we will consult as appropriate with Ministers and officials at
the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
2.7 Every grant award we make is subject
to standard terms and conditions laid down under the Financial
Directions. On large-scale projects, it is our standard approach
to agree a brief, budget and development milestones for the projectusually
incorporated in the form of a Lottery Funding Agreement (LFA).
This is to safeguard the grant and to ensure appropriate accountability
for lottery funds. We then rigorously monitor the project to ensure
it meets the development milestones set out in the terms of our
grant. This includes a requirement that facilities provide equal
opportunities for all the community.
2.8 Failure to comply with standard terms
and conditions provides Sport England with the right to demand
repayment of lottery grants.
2.9 We hope the Committee will concur with
our belief that in our dealings with the National Athletics Stadium
project at Picketts Lock, we have at all times acted professionally
and accountably, in accordance with our duties, and sought to
provide the maximum support that our remit allows to the project.
3. FINDING A
3.1 Sport England has long supported efforts
by UK Athletics (UKA), DCMS and UK Sport to bring the World Athletics
Championships to the UK. It is one of the world's leading sporting
events and our successful staging of the event would create many
positive spin-offs for British sport.
3.2 It was initially intended that these
Championships would be held at the English National Stadium proposed
3.3 In order to provide the best possible
viewing characteristics for both football and athletics, an innovative
design solution was developed involving the installation of a
platform within the stadium on the few occasionsthe World
Athletics Championships and a possible future Olympic Gamesthat
it would have been required for athletics. The cost of this design
solution was estimated at £17.9 million (65,000 seat capacity)
or £23.4 million (80,000 seat capacity).
3.4 In reviewing the initial proposal, backed
by the Football Association, Rugby Football League and UK Athletics
that Wembley be a multi-purpose national stadium that could be
adapted for optimum use by football, rugby league, and athletics,
the previous Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee concluded:
"We believe that the platform solution proposed
by the Wembley design team is a commendable and innovative solution
to the requirements of the design brief and could well provide
a template for future projects"
CMS Select Committee, Wembley National Stadium:
4th Report, 1999-2000, paragraph 70
3.5 On 22 December 1999, the then Secretary
of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Rt Hon Chris Smith MP decided
that the decision to include athletics within the National Stadium
project at Wembley was no longer suitable. He based this decision
primarily upon his assessment of a report from architects Ellerbe
Becket raising concerns about the stadium's suitability for Olympic
Games use. He personally agreed with the FA the removal of athletics
in return for a £20 million payment back to Sport England.
3.6 Following a subsequent consultation
exercise led by Sport England, UK Athletics and other key stakeholders
endorsed by the Secretary of State's decision and confirmed they
no longer wished to use the National Stadium for Athletics, effectively
withdrawing their request that Sport England require WNSL to meet
its Lottery Funding Agreement requirement that the new Wembley
be capable of staging athletics and hence a home for the World
3.7 It was therefore proposed that the National
Stadium accommodate football and rugby league only, and that the
£20 million payment to Sport England negotiated by the Secretary
of State be returned once the financing proposals for Wembley
have been committed.
4. THE SEARCH
4.1 UK Athletics now needed to identify
an appropriate alternative venue for a National Athletics Stadium
capable of hosting the World Athletic Championships. Both they
and DCMS believed this needed to be in London on the understanding
that the IAAF wished to bring the World Athletics Championships
to England's capital city.
4.2 Sport England was requested to assist
in the search for a site in London and a long list of 14 sites
was drawn up and assessed against criteria agreed by the Department
of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), UKA, UK Sport, British Olympic
Association (BOA), Government Office for London and Sport England.
The assessment process (but not the final decision) was facilitated
by Sport England.
4.3 The Sport England assessment report
drew the following conclusions:
due to the early stage of development,
there was a lack of certainty about the project being viable or
deliverable at any of the sites;
preliminary cost assessments suggested
that the aspirations of UK Athletics were unlikely to be achieved
within the projected budget available (£60 million lottery
funding)the costs were assessed to be in the range £90-100
the long-term viability of the project
was considered questionable.
4.4 At a subsequent meeting held on 15 March
2000, a shortlist of five sites was discussed. The prospective
sites were Hillingdon House Farm, Hackney Wick, Crystal Palace,
Twickenham and Picketts Lock.
4.5 The advantages and disadvantages of
each site were identified but the report did not include a recommendation,
the final decisions being for UK Athletics. It was accepted by
UKA and the DCMS that Sport England could not be a party to the
decision, as an independent assessment of the grant application
would need to be made by Sport England at the relevant time.
5. PICKETTS LOCK
5.1 In late March 2000, UK Athletics selected
Picketts Lock as its preferred site for a National Athletics Centre.
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) is the owner of the
Picketts Lock site. There were a number of key factors that influenced
the size of the site (125 acres)
was considered sufficient for the project;
the favourable planning context,
when compared to the other four "finalists";
the ability of the LVRPA team to
deliver the project;
potential for capital and revenue
funds from LVRPA;
the regeneration status of the site,
and thus further potential capital funds under Objective 2; and
proposals from Middlesex University
to create a new campus in the Lee Valley, thus providing athlete
accommodation for the event.
5.2 On 3 April 2000, a panel consisting
of UK Athletics, UK Sport and the DCMS Secretary of State attended
the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) in Paris
to present the UK bid, based on a new stadium at Picketts Lock
for the World Athletic Championships in 2005. The IAAF formally
awarded the World Athletics Championships to London, based upon
a proposal to build an athletics stadium at Picketts Lock. The
IAAF made this award on the basis that UK Athletics would demonstrate
clear progress on stadium development by October 2001.
6. INITIAL FEASIBILITY
6.1 From the outset, it was recognised that
an injection of funding was required to scope in further detail
the feasibility of developing a National Athletics Stadium at
6.2 As neither DCMS or UKA were able to
fund this work, the LVRPA submitted an application for lottery
funding to Sport England in May 2000 to support the development
of a project brief for a National Athletics Stadium.
6.3 At its June 2000 Council meeting, Sport
England members awarded a grant of £240,000, the balance
of £165,000 being met by the LVRPA, towards initial feasibility
6.4 This grant facilitated a review of the
project brief in conjunction with the LVRPA, UK Athletics (UKA)
and the British Olympic Association (BOA) that would assess viability,
design, cost, planning, business plan, transport and environmental
6.5 At this stage, it was still unclear
to what extent Picketts Lock would be a part of the BOA's plans
for London to stage a future Olympic games, should it mount a
successful bid. Finding a stadium suitable for a possible future
Olympic Games had been one of the main reasons behind Chris Smith's
decision to announce the removal of an athletics capability at
Wembley. During these feasibility studies, the BOA chose to withdraw
their interest in Picketts Lock being developed as a potential
Olympic venue for athletics, citing concern that their requirement
for a larger stadium would add unacceptable planning delays to
the project timetable.
6.6 These studies indicated to LVRPA and
UKA's satisfaction that a National Athletics Centre at Picketts
Lock was feasible, however they did draw attention to the considerable
challenges that still had to be addressed before the project was
to be a viable recipient of considerable lottery funds.
6.7 These included addressing an estimated
capital funding gap of £18-£23 million and the long-term
viability of the stadium. One area of concern at this early stage,
highlighted by the Select Committee in its previous inquiries,
was the extent to which UK Athletics was proposing to transfer
regional athletics events to Picketts Lock.
7. A NEED FOR
7.1 In November 2000, Sport England considered
an application for further lottery funding from the LVRPA toward
more detailed studies into the financial and technical viability
of the project being proposed.
7.2 The studies were intended to establish
in far greater detail the long-term viability of the project and
enable Sport England to take a rational and informed view of the
substantive application it expected to receive for a funding total
of £67 million (less feasibility costs) towards the project
in spring 2001.
7.3 The application set out that in the
six month period November 2000 - May 2001, detailed work was to
be undertaken on developing the project's viability in the following
more detailed work on stadium design
preparation of an outline planning
application (with related environmental, socio-economic and transport
development work on the business
plancapital and revenue funding; and
long-term viability formalisation
of the structure of the final project vehicle (applicant) event
7.4 At this early stage, Council members
still had concerns (first identified by the Sport England assessment
of all available sites in London) that there remained major issues
that had to be addressed if the project was to be successful.
7.5 However, they were also mindful of the
expressed demand for the project from UK Sport, UK Athletics and
the DCMS as well as the strategic importance of the UK having
a suitable venue to host the World Athletic Championships in 2005.
7.6 For this reason, it was felt prudent
to make a further grant of £1.33 million (and not the £2.6
million originally applied for) towards further feasibility studies
to determine the viability of the proposed Lee Valley National
Athletics Centre at Picketts Lock.
7.7 This funding was very specifically results
driven. Eleven specific development tasks were attached to the
Lottery Funding Agreement entered into with LVRPA. These were
to be completed by the 31 May 2001 and defined key milestones
against which Sport England could assess the project's progress
towards viability. These 11 development tasks set clear objectives
against which would assist Sport England make an informed decision
as to whether it was happy to commit substantial lottery funding
to the project in the spring of 2001.
7.8 The costs being incurred at this stage
were included within the total allocation of £67 million
that had been earmarked within the overall lottery fund for the
National Athletics Centre (comprising the £20 million to
be returned from Wembley, a further £40 million for the stadium
and a £7 million budget allocation for an athletics high
8. ONGOING MONITORING
8.1 In the period November 2000 to May 2001,
Sport England continued to engage in extensive monitoring of the
project's progress set against the 11 development tasks of the
8.2 This included attendance at the following
meetings which were established to guide and steer progress:
A weekly "client" (LVRPA)
progress meeting. These meetings were also attended by representatives
of UK Athletics, the London Borough of Enfield, and occasionally,
the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
A fortnightly "technical"
meeting. These meetings were also attended by representatives
of UK Athletics, the London Borough of Enfield and the LVRPA.
The technical meetings considered issues such as design and, where
appropriate, involved external consultants working on the project.
Lee Valley Stadium "Forum"
meetings. These were chaired by either the Secretary of State
or Minister for Sport, Kate Hoey MP and involved a wide range
of stakeholders with a role to play in the project. Approximately
four meetings took place.
8.3 By attending these meetings and through
an ongoing dialogue with the applicant, Sport England ensured
that it upheld its statutory duty to monitor the spending of lottery
funds and provide appropriate advice and support to the LVRPA
and UKA on the many significant issues faced.
8.4 We were heartened to hear UK Athletics,
in their evidence to this Committee in March 2001, commend the
independent advice and supportive approach Sport England had provided
to the project in this period.
9.1 There was also encouraging evidence
in this period that the Government was providing real and wholehearted
support to efforts to address the viability problems the project
needed to overcome.
9.2 In evidence to this Committee on 21
March 2001, the then Secretary of State, Chris Smith MP, made
the following comments with regard to the project:
"We are working very closely together with
Sport England and with UK Athletics in ensuring that we can have
a very good stadium to host the Games, a smooth process of running
the Games and that everything will be put in place between now
and 2005 to ensure that happens. I am confident that that will
happen because all the fundamentals are right. The location has
been identified, the feasibility work on the design is well advanced
and hopefully tomorrow we will hear from the architects with the
public unveiling of the design and the costs. Already substantial
areas of funding are earmarked. Of course there is some further
work to be done. That would be unusual if at this stage that was
not the case, but I am absolutely confident that we are properly
CMS Select Committee, Staging International
Sporting Events, Third report 2001, Volume II, col 450.
"I am, as I indicated earlier on, absolutely
confident that we will be able to ensure a good, world class athletics
facility at Picketts Lock. That remains my belief".
CMS Select Committee, Staging International
Sporting Events, Third report 2001, Volume II, col 500.
10. THE LOTTERY
10.1 On 14 May 2001, Sport England received
an application to fund an athletics centre at Picketts Lock from
the newly formed National Athletic Centre Joint Venture Consortium
(NACJVC). The members of NACJVC are Lee Valley Regional Park Authority,
London Borough of Enfield and UK Athletics.
10.2 This was a substantive application
for £65.43 million funding (£67 million budget allocation
less feasibility costs) from June 2001 through to the project's
ultimate completion in December 2005, when the stadium will be
completed in legacy specification (see below) after the 2005 World
Athletics Championships (WAC).
10.3 The application outlined the following
objectives for the National Athletics Centre project:
to provide a venue for the 2005 World
to provide the permanent National
Centre for Athletics, both in terms of defined competition and
world class needs;
to provide a High Performance Centre
for the training of elite athletes;
to provide the basis for local athletics
club and community development programmes;
to contribute towards the local health
and fitness strategies, the alleviation of social exclusion, and
regeneration of the area.
10.4 In order to achieve these objectives,
the current Project content was defined as:
in 2001 WAC mode 43,000 seats will
be provided (3,000 devoted to VIPs and media). 13,000 will be
temporary and uncovered;
post 2005 WAC, in legacy mode 20,000
covered seats will be available, 13,000 temporary seats will be
removed, a further 10,000 seats (5,000 each on home and back straight
stands) will be screened off;
a "legacy" high performance
a six lane indoor 200m track;
a six lane 60m sprint track located
within the 200m track;
an outdoor 400m training/warm up
provision for sports science and
11.1 Following the receipt of the NACJVC
application, Sport England officials undertook a detailed assessment
of its content.
11.2 This covered two specific requirements:
Progress made in meeting the 11 development
tasks that had been written into the Lottery Funding Agreement
of November 2000.
Assessment against the standard criteria
which are applied to all lottery applicationsviability
(financial and otherwise), technical feasibility, value for money,
eligibility/project delivery, expressed demand and legacy for
11.3 A detailed assessment of the application
was put to Sport England's Council and Lottery Panel in June 2001.
Members identified several outstanding areas of concern regarding
the viability of the project that still needed to be addressed
before the application could meet all the funding criteria. The
following categories were of particular concern:
capital costs (funding gap and under-writing);
planning (transport, green belt,
section 106, planning risk);
legal eligibility (project vehicle);
long-term legacy (revenue income);
sporting legacy (impact on regional
athletics facilities across the UK).
11.4 There was also an on-going concern,
not specific to the application, as to whether the Championships,
for which the stadium was to be constructed, would actually go
ahead as it still needed to be resolved who would sign the Event
Organisation Agreement with the IAAF underwriting the games.
11.5 A brief summary of each of these concerns
is set out below:
12. CAPITAL COSTS
12.1 As of June 2001, the design consultants
estimated that the project would have a capital cost of £97
million (this does not include the cost of a station being constructed
on site and associated pedestrian access). The Council and Panel
was concerned that the actual costs could rise beyond this as
experience with other major projects being constructed to tight
12.2 The NACJVC application itself identifies
an £8 million capital funding gap in the identified budget:
It set out the potential capital funding identified as:
|Lottery funding (stadium£60 million, high class performance centre£7million)
|Lee Valley Regional Planning Authority
|Modernisation fund (Government funding)
|Regeneration fund (LDA£4 million, Objective 2 status£2 million)
|Naming rights||£3 million
12.3 There was however considerable uncertainty as to
the extent to which the above capital funding projections would
actually be realised. The following points still needed further
Reassurance was required of the exact terms and
conditions attached to the modernisation funding the NACJVC seeks
from Government. This includes details of how £8 million
of match funding would be procured to trigger a modernisation
fund payment of £8 million.
Confirmation that the figures identified for regeneration
funding would be forthcoming from the relevant agencies (London
Development Agency£4 million towards transport infrastructure
and land fill; Objective 2 funding£2 million)
Evidence that the £3 million estimated for
stadium naming rights was achievable on the basis that the IAAF
usually require a "clean stadium" for the WAC and the
reduced event profile of the stadium.
The application gave no indication as to which organisation
was prepared to underwrite the capital funding gap.
13. PLANNING (TRANSPORT,
SECTION 106 AGREEMENT,
13.1 Planning is a crucial issue for the LVNAC project.
The LVNAC is required to host the August 2005 World Athletic Championships.
This is a short time scale for preparing and progressing an application
for a major stadium development, especially given that the design
team was not appointed until January 2001 and the site is located
on Green Belt land giving rise to a major national planning policy
issue. The following specific planning issues still had to be
The Transport Strategy is the most controversial aspect of
the planning application. The pre-application consultation process
revealed a clear difference of opinion on the extent to which
the provision of a new station at Picketts Lock is "essential"
or just "desirable". Both the London Borough of Enfield
and the Greater London Authority consider it ideal that 80 per
cent of visitors travel by public transport to the site. The only
way this target can be achieved is through a new station being
built on the site.
It was still open to question whether the Greater London
Authority would support the planning application unless it is
clear that proposals for a new station are being progressed in
Green belt issues
The LVNAC application is contrary to national planning guidance
on developments affecting green belts. Whilst the proposal replaces
an existing building, the proposal goes beyond the footprint of
the existing building, and is of significantly greater mass. PPG
17 states that for a stadium proposal to meet the "very special
circumstance" all alternative locations need to be exhausted.
It is not clear how rigorous consideration of alternative sites
has been in planning terms.
Whilst the very special circumstances of the project may
be sufficient to outweigh loss of part of the green belt, it is
unlikely that the Secretary of State (DTLR) would want to allow
the London Borough of Enfield to determine this application given
this conflict with national planning guidance; a view supported
by Counsel's opinion William Hick QC. The costs and timetable
prepared for the project and contained within the lottery application
do not include allowance for any major planning delays such as
a public inquiry.
Section 106 Agreement
The London Borough of Enfield had not at this time agreed
an outline Heads of Terms for the Section 106 agreement adding
considerable concern to the future costs and delays the project
might encounter. There was already a funding gap that could be
added to as a result of the Section 106 Agreement.
Project planning risk
Not surprisingly given the above issues, the LVRPA, in their
covering letter accompanying the application, requested that Sport
England assume planning risk for the project (this means that
failure to achieve planning permission will not trigger repayment
of any grants under any Lottery Funding Agreements).
It is standard practice for lottery applicants to assume
planning risk associated with their projects as risk is a crucial
factor in establishing a project's viability. Both Wembley National
Stadium Limited and Manchester City Council accepted planning
risk with the National Stadium and Commonwealth Games Stadium
13.2 It is a key point of principle that Sport England
does not assume planning risk for any project. It would be a dereliction
of our duty to commit any more of up to £65 million of lottery
funding to a scheme which may fall due to planning issues and
for this money to then be unrecoverable.
14. LEGAL ELIGIBILITY
14.1 In order for any applicant for lottery money to
be awarded funding, Sport England needs to be satisfied that the
applicant is capable of meeting two key conditions:
to carry out its obligations under the lottery
funding agreement; and
to repay lottery funds upon the occurrence of
an event of default.
14.2 Up to this stage in the project's development, the
applicant has not been required to repay any lottery funding it
has received should the project not proceed, this being the very
nature of feasibility funding. Beyond this stage, any future monies
committed under the substantive application would be awarded on
the clear instructions, in the form of the Lottery Funding Agreement,
that failure to see the project through to completion would result
in repayment to Sport England.
14.3 The Project Consortium (LBE, UKA and LVRPA) have
established that their relationship in respect of the project
will be, in the first instance, governed by a Joint Venture Agreement
and then through the creation of a project delivery vehicle (either
a limited liability partnership or a limited company) in which
all of the entities in the Project consortium shall take a share.
14.4 Due to the size of this national project, none of
the partners felt comfortable under-writing the project's costs:
The scale of the development means that the potential financial
commitments and liabilities are too large to be borne or underwritten
by any of the existing project partners. In essence this is a
national project. The project partners . . .are not in a position
to underwrite the project as a whole.
14.5 Sport England still needed to seek legal clarity
should a default occur in respect of a future lottery agreement
that the project consortium will be collectively and individually
responsible for the repayment of grant.
15.1 The business plan produced as part of the application
had identified that the running costs of the stadium and centre
would be in the range of £843,000 to £1.03 million per
annum. The "base" case for stadium income was estimated
15.2 There were also more optimistic readings of the
potential revenue stream, but these figures made it imperative
that the long-term income stream of the stadium needed to be underwritten.
15.3 While the London Marathon Trust have agreed "in
principle" to give revenue support to the running of the
National Athletics Stadium after the 2005 World Athletics Championships,
the NACJVC still had to secure a clear commitment from the London
Marathon Trust that it would be a long-term partner of the centre,
and the exact amount it would contribute.
15.4 The LVRPA, LBE and UKA have stated that they will
contribute £212,500, £130,000 and £100,000 per
annum respectively in regards to revenue funding. However, in
each instance, this obligation still had to be approved by the
respective councils/board of the three entities and there was
no indication as to the duration of this support if so approved.
As with all Lottery projects, as part of Sport England's financial
due diligence responsibilities, checks are undertaken to confirm
the ability of various revenue underwriters to meet their obligations.
15.5 At this stage of the project, none of the applicant
bodies were prepared to underwrite the revenue funding for the
legacy period and had not identified any alternative funding streams.
16. SPORTING LEGACY
16.1 As previous Select Committee inquiries have noted,
there has been widespread concern at the sporting legacy that
Picketts Lock would secure once the World Athletics Championships
event has taken place.
16.2 There has been considerable debate as to the events
which UK Athletics can commit to Picketts Lock. The UK has a strong
record of athletic events being held across the regions and there
has been concern that a large number of these may need to be switched
to the proposed National Athletics Centre.
16.3 The lottery application, for which UK Athletics
is a partner, notes that a "consortium approach" to
the apportionment of major events post 2005 has been discussed
between the major stadium owners throughout the country.
16.4 In its November 2000 application a more comprehensive
event programme for athletics at Picketts Lock was submitted than
that in the final application. UKA having since reverted to a
regional distribution of events which has underpinned the sport
thus far in the absence of a National Centre.
16.5 The event commitment to the LVNAC is going to be
reduced as a result of the consortium approach and inevitably
leads to questions on the need for a National Athletics Centre
as the sport is already adequately provided for by regional stadia.
It was still to be made clear how the proposed consortium agreement
would work in practice. A further issue in the distribution of
events around the country is the level of commitment obtained
from event holders to host events at LVNAC.
17.1 The IAAF makes it a condition of awarding a major
event that its costs are under-written. This is known as the Event
Organisation Agreement (EOA). For instance, 2003 World indoor
championships are to be under-written by Birmingham City Council.
UK Athletics had hoped that the Greater London Authority (GLA)
would have agreed to sign this early in 2001.
17.2 Subsequently, the GLA announced that they did not
feel in a position to underwrite the Games and a debate has taken
place as to who will sign it. While it is not usual practice for
the Government to underwrite a national sporting event, UK Athletics
Chief Executive, David Moorcroft, was optimistic that the Government
would perform this role:
What the Secretary of State has assured us is that there will
be an underwriting of that contract and he will take the lead
in terms of ensuring that it is in place sooner rather than later.
CMS Select Ctte, Staging International Sporting Events, 3rd
Report, Volume II 2001 Col 93.
18. INITIAL RESPONSE
NACJVC LOTTERY APPLICATION
18.1 The NACJVC application was considered at a Sport
England Council meeting on 4 June 2001 and a further Lottery Panel
meeting on 18 June 2001. The application was considered with two
key factors in mind:
The need to assess this application against the
standard criteria all lottery applications face.
The strategic importance for British sport of
staging the World Athletics Championships.
18.2 Sport England's members were acutely aware of the
importance of this decision. We have always been mindful and agreed
fully with the substantive recommendation of this Committee in
March 2001 with regard to the future progress of the National
We have no doubt that a viable new national stadium for athletics
would represent an important addition to the elite sporting facilities
of this country. We hope that the Secretary of State's confidence
will prove justified. However, there are important issues that
remain to be resolved with regard to the Picketts Lock Stadium
project. Satisfactory solutions to the problems of underwriting,
cost control, risk management, timetable guarantees and long-term
viability must be firmly in place before Lottery funding is granted.
Sport England must judge the project by its usual criteria for
capital projects and must also bear in mind the need to consider
both the issues relating to the 2005 World Athletics Championships
and the distinct and strong case for a National Stadium for Athletics.
CMS Select Cttee, Staging International Sporting Events: 3rd
Report 2001, Vol 1, Col 148.
18.3 The substance of this recommendation was reflected
at Sport England's Council meeting on 4 June and Lottery Panel
meeting on 18 June. It was at the Lottery panel meeting that it
was agreed that with the information available to it, the panel
did not feel that it could support a positive approval for the
NACJVC application at its joint meeting with the Council on Monday
18.4 The panel recommended that a final decision be deferred
until Sport England had had an opportunity to consult with the
Government on matters relating to the wider context of the application.
18.5 In light of this decision, the Chairman of Sport
England sought an early meeting with the new Secretary of State
for Culture, Media and Sport, Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP, to bring
to her attention the strong reservations of the Council and Panel
with regard to the lottery application that had been submitted
to fund a National Athletics Stadium at Picketts Lock.
18.6 The Chairman subsequently met with the new Secretary
of State and explained the concerns that the Council had about
the application not being one which the Council could at that
time approve, as when it was considered according to the same
key lottery criteria as all other applications, it could not address
all of Sport England's policy and financial directionsincluding
eligibility, viability, sustainability, value for money, and financial
18.7 The Secretary of State agreed in discussion with
Trevor Brooking that Patrick Carter, who had already been asked
to undertake a review of the National Stadium at Wembley, should
also review the Picketts Lock project to see if the significant
issues which had been raised by Sport England's assessment of
the application were ones which could be successfully addressed.
19. AN INDEPENDENT
19.1 On 2 July, the Council approved this approach and
the Secretary of State subsequently announced the terms of reference
for the inquiry, which had been agreed between herself and the
Chairman of Sport England:
Sport England have concluded that they are not able yet to
provide lottery funding to develop the Lee Valley National Athletics
Centre and have asked Patrick Carter, who is conducting the review
of the national stadium project, to carry out a separate review
of the project with the following terms of reference:
"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 assess whether the
Lee Valley National Athletics Centre project can be funded and
managed in its current format and if not, what alternatives might
be feasible. The review should report its findings within seven
Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP, 2 July 2001.
19.2 Patrick Carter commenced his review with immediate
effect. Sport England officials have continued to provide Mr Carter
with all the advice and support he has required to undertake a
thorough review of the project as well as a detailed assessment
of the options open to the Government should the project not be
able to proceed at Picketts Lock.
19.3 Sport England received Patrick Carter's review into
Picketts Lock on 31 August 2001. This report reflected and endorsed
our strong reservations as to the viability of the project and
whether it could demonstrate clear value for money when set against
the many other demands on the Lottery Sports Fund. It also highlighted
other important issues not specifically relevant to our processes,
but that still put serious question marks over the project's viability.
These included the transport infrastructure surrounding the site
and finding local facilities for athletes' accommodation.
19.4 Sport England have since been engaged in discussions
with the Secretary of State with regard to the findings of the
review and whether it would be possible to overcome the very real
dilemma that the project just could not be delivered without undertaking
an unacceptable level of risk and expenditure of public funds.
19.5 It was initially intended that the Sport England
Council would be able to make a final decision on the application
at its Council meeting on 1 October 2001. However, there has understandably
been a slight delay to the proposed timetable, partly due to the
tragic events in the United States of 11 September 2001.
19.6 Sport England will ensure that the Committee is
kept abreast of any important developments that occur in the coming
days ahead of its oral evidence sessions.
15 October 2001