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


Memorandum submitted by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority


  This report has been prepared in response to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's invitation to the Authority to submit written evidence regarding the now cancelled Lee Valley National Athletics Centre (LVNAC) at Picketts Lock.

  The Authority wishes to take this opportunity to express its disappointment and dismay at the cancellation of the project, particularly as it maintains its belief in the viability of and need for the National Athletics Centre, both in terms of staging the 2005 World Championships in Athletics and the "legacy" it would leave for athletics in the United Kingdom.

  To hear the Chair of the Committee say that "it had always felt that Picketts Lock was doomed" and Patrick Carter say that Picketts Lock had been "the best of a bad bunch, or least worst option" was not only derogatory but typical of the lack of support this national project suffered almost from its outset. It was particularly insulting for the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority which had responded wholeheartedly at a time of crisis, acted in good faith and in a very responsible manner as de facto leaders of the project and committed considerable resources to a Government-initiated project of national importance.

  This said, the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority remains ready and willing to apply the experience it gained and the lessons it learned from the NAC project to any future policy development regarding the staging of major international sporting events in the UK.



  1.  Chronology of the LVNAC Project

  2.  The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority Role

  3.  Analysis of the Carter Report

  4.  Evolution of the NAC Cost Plan

  5.  Transportation Strategy

  6.  Lessons to be Learnt

  7.  Way Forward for the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority

  8.  Supporting Evidence [not reproduced]



December 1999

  Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, The Rt Hon Chris Smith MP, announces review of inclusion of athletics in Wembley proposal after Ellerbe Becket report raises questions about sightlines.

  Secretary of State decides to remove athletics from Wembley.

January to March 2000

  Working party comprising of DCMS, UK Athletics, Sport England, UK Sport, GOL, BOA is formed.

  Search for a suitable site for National Athletics Centre in London.

February 2000

  Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) approached by Sport England and asked to submit Picketts Lock details.

  LVRPA was in the process of seeking a fresh development proposal for the Picketts Lock site with the 27 year old leisure centre having come to the end of its life.

March 2000

  Six sites shortlisted.

  DCMS chairs site selection workshop with Secretary of State chairing site shortlisting meeting.

  24 March: Picketts Lock selected.

  Outline costs at this stage given as between £90 million and £120 million.

April 2000

  3 April: UK delegation to Paris led by Chris Smith to bid for 2003 indoor and 2005 outdoor WAC bids.

  Concept of new dedicated athletics stadium at Picketts Lock presented as part of bid.

  World Athletics Championships 2005 is awarded to London along with the 2003 indoor World Championships to Birmingham.

  Chris Smith said "the Government will do all it can to help UK Athletics to stage the most successful World Championships ever".

May 2000

  Lottery application from LVRPA and UK Athletics to Sport England for feasibility study funding.

  Funding breakdown:

    —  £240,000 Sport England.

    —  £165,000 LVRPA.

  Project brief and Business Plan identified as the two main outputs.

  Drivers Jonas and Ernst & Young appointed.

  Minister for Sport Kate Hoey visits the Picketts Lock site and receives an early briefing on project.

June 2000

  Comprehensive feasibility exercise began:

Technical Tasks

    —  design brief;

    —  cost planning;

    —  planning; and

    —  programme.

Financial/Business Tasks

    —  capital funding;

    —  revenue funding; and

    —  project delivery.

  26 June: the first Lee Valley Stadium Forum meeting is held chaired by the Minister, Kate Hoey:

Terms of Reference

  "Information exchange between interested parties and identification of difficulties."

  Key areas of risk highlighted are:

    —  capital funding gap;

    —  long-term revenue funding; and

    —  membership: DCMS, Sport England, LVRPS, London Borough of Enfield, Government Office for London, GLA, Transport for London, UK Sport, London 2005 and BOA.

July 2000

  Sport England first made aware by the Lee Valley National Athletics Centre project team of the challenging nature of the programme and the need therefore for sufficient funding for the range of detailed technical studies.

October 2000

  End of stage 1 feasibility exercise. Stage 1 feasibility outputs:

    —  Indicative cost plan for NAC of £95 million with £72 million identified and a funding gap of £23 million.

    —  NAC design brief developed.

    —  Master programme determined.

    —  Event programme for NAC proposed by UKA.

    —  Business plan for legacy NAC with revenue implications produced by Ernst & Young (£950,000 per annum base/worst case).

    —  Initial approaches to prospective anchor tenants.

  Lottery application from LVRPA/UKA for next stage November 2000-May 2002 (up to planning consent).

  Lottery bid rejected.

  2 October: Second Lee Valley Stadium Forum meeting £23 million capital gap reported.

November 2000

  Sport England agreed to fund stage 2 feasibility work November 2000-May 2001:

    —  £340,000 LVRPA.

    —  £1.32 million Sport England.

  LVRPA spends £75,000 at its own risk in order to ensure project continuity in advance of the above Lottery Funding Agreement being formalised.

Key Tasks November 2000-May 2001:

    —  Develop National Athletics Centre design.

    —  Progress planning process with submission of planning application.

    —  Detailed cost planning.

    —  Site investigations.

    —  Public consultation.

    —  Attempt to bridge the capital gap.

    —  Achieving revenue commitment for legacy NAC.

    —  Environmental, transport and socio-economic studies.

  Letter from Secretary of State to Shaun Dawson LVRPA. Government re-affirming its commitment to LVNAC project and 2005 World Athletics Championships.

  Third Lee Valley Stadium Forum meeting 13 November progress reported.

    —  LVNAC capital cost of circa £95 million reported again.

    —  Design team appointment to be made.

    —  £1.32 million lottery award from Sport England.

December 2000

  Following the appointment of Sir Rodney Walker to replace Ken Bates a "new" Wembley re-emerges as an option for WAC 2005. LVRPA/partners seek reassurance from the Secretary of State re: the status of the Lee Valley Project.

  Letter from Secretary of State to Shaun Dawson: Government believes that LVNAC offers the best option for 2005 WAC. The Government will continue to work with UKA. LVRPA and Sport England to deliver 2005.

  Additional consultants (Design Team) appointed and instructed including FaulknerBrowns, DLE (costs consultants). Arup Environmental (environmental impacts), Ecotec and Oscar Faber (transport impacts).

  Draft Planning Brief for Picketts Lock site drawn up by LVRPA and LBE and put out to consultation with response deadline of end January 2001.

January 2001

  Fourth Lee Valley Stadium Forum, 16 January. Secretary of State opened meeting with statement re: Wembley and uncertainty around the LVNAC project. Secretary of State emphasised need for LVNAC to work and indicated that Wembley, although technically feasible, would have problems delivering for 2005.

LVNAC project progress reported:

  £23 million capital gap again highlighted.

  £950,000 revenue cost for legacy NAC: commitment from LVRPA, UKA, LBE and London Marathon Trust (LMT) to fund the revenue cost.

  Design team appointed: FaulknerBrowns.

  LVS project being undermined by uncertainty caused by Wembley review and press speculation. Lack of confidence in the project affecting efforts to attract private sector interest.

February 2001

  In the context of the capital funding gap (£23 million) the project team seeks to develop a cheaper "bunker" scheme option working closely with Sport England.

  Planning Brief for Picketts Lock site adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance to LBE's Unitary Development Plan and LVRPS's Park Plan.

March 2001

  19 March: Outline design for original scheme and cheaper "bunker" scheme (£62 million) presented to the Minister and Secretary of State. "Bunker" scheme rejected and original scheme wholeheartedly endorsed.

  22 March: Public launch of LVNAC design led by Secretary of State.

  Government support and commitment reiterated. Chris Smith "This stadium is the best thing to happen to athletics in the UK for a generation. All of us, from all political parties and from all parts of the world of athletics must now step up our efforts to ensure that this new stadium becomes a reality".

April 2001

  Visit to London by IAAF delegation led by president Lamine Diack. Picketts Lock tour plus meeting with Chris Smith. As the LVNAC project approached the end of the second stage of the feasibility exercise the areas requiring attention/leadership of Government were identified:

    —  3 April: letter to DCMS from Shaun Dawson asking for Government leadership and resolution on the following points:

      —  Capital funding gap (£15 million-£23 million).

      —  Underwriting of capital cost of project.

      —  Establishing an effective delivery structure for the 2005 event (NAC, transport, accommodation).

  Major public consultation programme takes place as part of design and planning application process.

May 2001

  April/May 2001: letter from Project Director to DCMS officers and ministers, sets out areas for Government lead if project to progress:

    —  Resolve capital funding gap.

    —  Stand behind project/underwrite.

  4 May: pre-election period. Chris Smith announces £8 million commitment to NAC from Treasury Capital Modernisation Fund. Release of £8 million contingent upon rest of capital gap being bridged and not available until 2002-03.

  6 May: London Marathon Trust announces revenue support for the NAC.

  LVRPA press releases states cost is £97 million of which £87 million is stadium and £10 million is off site.

(a)  Completion of stage two feasibility exercise key outputs

    —  Outline planning application submitted.

    —  Outline NAC design completed.

    —  Legacy NAC revenue commitments in place.

    —  Capital cost plan: £97.3 million NAC scheme.

    —  Transport strategy for 2005 WAC and legacy NAC.

Outstanding issues (to be resolved):

    —  * Capital funding gap circa £17 million.

    —  Underwriting of major capital project.

    —  Effective delivery structure for NAC project and 2005 event.

(b)  Letter from Secretary of State to Shaun Dawson (17 May) in response to 30 April letter

    —  Confirms the £8 million CMF offer.

    —  Project underwriting and bridging of the capital gap not addressed.

  Letter from Shaun Dawson to DCMS (29 May) once again seeking Government action in resolving outstanding issues mindful of pending election and Sport England assessment of substantive lottery application of 4 June.

(c)  Substantive lottery application for £67 million NAC development submitted to Sport England

    —  Accompanying letter to Sport England makes the case for funding continuity from end of feasibility stage into delivery stage, in order to deliver NAC to programme, end of 2004.

June 2001

  Sport England defers decision on substantive lottery application until 2 July.

  Sport England does sanction the spend of the balance from the previous grant (£380,000) to allow a degree of continuity for the project.

  With a December 2004 completion date the project needs to be spending at £250,000-£300,000 per month, at this stage.

  7 June: General Election leads to appointment of Tessa Jowell as Secretary of State and Richard Caborn as Minister of Sport.

  20 June: Project Team meeting with new Minister of Sport Richard Caborn.

  Outstanding unresolved matters discussed. Minister requests an assessment of the socio-economic benefits of the £97 million investment.

July 2001

  Carter review of LVNAC/2005 WAC announced/begins.

  Sport England further defers decision on lottery application until conclusion of Carter review.

  LVNAC vision document produced and distributed widely. Copies sent to Secretary of State, Minister and Carter team.

  Vision document sets out the long term sporting, social and economic benefits to be derived from £97 million investment.

  All work on project ceases with no funding in place.

  27 July letter to Tessa Jowell from Shaun Dawson informing her of impact of time being lost on the project programme. Asking Tessa Jowell to facilitate the release of funding to enable continuity during period of review.

August 2001

  Project team visit to WAC 2001 Edmonton, Canada, to fact find and learn lessons from 2001 event.

  Final meeting with Carter and team 21 August. Carter concerns: transport and accommodation.

  24 August Supplementary information addressing Carter's concerns forwarded to him.

September 2001

  No dialogue re Carter report between project partners (LVRPA, UKA or LBE) and DCMS or Sport England.

  12 September LBE award the LVNAC development outline planning consent.

  21 September letter to Tessa Jowell from Shaun Dawson stressing the importance of immediate funding for the project in light of time lost. Proposed that £2 million is released to allow "critical" design/other technical work to progress whilst the complex outstanding matters are resolved over coming month.

October 2001

  2 October project partners invited to meet Secretary of State on 4 October. In addition LVRPA and London Borough of Enfield are invited to a briefing on the Carter report pre the Secretary of State meeting on the same day.

  4 October Secretary of State informs LVRPA and London Borough of Enfield (UKA in separate meeting) that project is to be cancelled with the main reasons being: transport, accommodation and total cost of 2005 WAC event (NAC plus event) as reported by Patrick Carter.

  5 October Letter to Evening Standard by Tessa Jowell states there will be legacy funds for LVRPA.

  Secretary of State also informs the LVRPA that £4 million from the CMF has been earmarked to part fund a legacy sports facility in the Lee Valley Regional Park.

  8 October LVRPA withdraws planning application.


  The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) was approached in February 2000 and asked whether it would wish to submit the 125 acre Picketts Lock site as a possible location for a National Athletics Centre (NAC). At that time the LVRPA had, for six months, been looking at fresh development options for the Picketts Lock site. On the site is a 28 year old leisure centre which has come to the end of its life as an effective regional facility. The DCMS led working party's search for a site for a NAC provided a timely opportunity for the LVRPA and Picketts Lock.

  The LVRPA launches its 10 year Business Plan in February 2000. Two key objectives are:

    (1)  to develop regional centres for sports development; and

    (2)  to develop winners and champions for the future.

  A National Athletics Centre at Picketts Lock was therefore consistent with the LVRPA's business aspirations.

  The LVRPA always considered the NAC project to be a national project commissioned by Government for the 2005 WAC (the third biggest international sporting event) and to provide a legacy for the sport in the form of a national centre. Although in essence a national project the LVRPA recognised the benefits to be had at a local and regional level as well, both from the WAC event and the legacy NAC.

  The LVRPA's commitment to the NAC scheme was on the basis that a partnership of local, regional and national agencies, as well as Government, would deliver this complex and demanding project.

  The LVRPA's commitment to the NAC was considerable especially as it has a net annual budget of just £9.5 million:

    —  125 acre site (development value £3-£4 million);

    —  £5 million capital contribution;

    —  £250,000 per annum revenue commitment to legacy NAC.

  Due to the tight timing of the decision to bid for the 2005 WAC and the need to develop a new stadium, delivering the NAC was always going to be a challenging project programme. The first stage of the project (May 2000) was to assess the technical and financial feasibility of developing the NAC on the Picketts Lock site. Being a development agency the LVRPA was well placed to take a lead on the feasibility stage of the project. A project team was assembled comprising of LVRPA, UK Athletics, London Borough of Enfield (LBE) and London 2005 officers plus technical and business planning consultants. Sport England participated in an observer capacity.

  As the lead organisation and the only organisation committing funding (apart from Sport England) the LVRPA became the lottery grant applicant. The fact that for this Government commissioned national project an organisation had to apply for the £67 million earmarked lottery funding (as if bidding for funding for a local sports centre) meant that by default the LVRPA came to be seen as an applicant/client for this NAC scheme. The real client was of course UK Athletics/London 2005 but they lacked the resources and assets to enter into a Lottery Funding Agreement with Sport England. The ultimate client was, however, the Government.

  In funding the feasibility exercise (May 2000-May 2001) Sport England required a funding contribution from the applicant. Of the £2 million spent on the feasibility work £1.5 million came from Sport England and £500,000 from the LVRPA.

  With the LVRPA leadership the project team achieved Sport England of the following outputs at the end of the feasibility stage (May 2001):

    (1)  First class design for the NAC.

    (2)  A costed scheme—£97.3 million.

    (3)  A planning application submitted to London Borough of Enfield (outline planning consent awarded 12 September 2001).

    (4)  Revenue commitments in place for the legacy NAC from local and regional partners (LVRPA, LBE, UKA, London Marathon Trust).

    (5)  £80 million capital commitment in place. A further £8 million identified from regeneration funding and naming rights.

    (6)  Deliverable project programme with a December 2004 completion date (to allow for a warm-up event before WCA 2005 in August).

    (7)  A first rate professional project team in place for delivery stage.

    (8)  A transport strategy for the 2005 WAC and legacy NAC.

  However, there were still a number of significant outstanding matters which needed resolving by the Government and other agencies. These were:

    (a)  bridging the capital gap (as now appears to be the case with Sheffield);

    (b)  underwriting this national project's total capital cost (as now appears to be the case with Sheffield);

    (c)  underwriting the long-term revenue cost of the NAC (as now appears to be the case with Sheffield);

    (d)  putting in place an effective delivery structure for the NAC and the 2005 events as a whole;

    (e)  nominating a lead agency for the transport strategy; and

    (f)  athletes accommodation.

  The above issues were raised with DCMS, Sport England and other agencies by the project team from early on in 2001. These are set out in the Chronology report. Unresolved, these critical areas were highlighted as the project's key weakness in the Carter Report.

  The LVRPA believes that it has gone beyond the call of duty in the part it has played progressing the NAC project over the past 18 months. Having responded to the call from the Government and UKA, and proposed Picketts Lock as a site for a NAC, the LVRPA has through its leadership, energy, resources and expertise delivered the feasibility stage and was well placed to play a full part in the delivery stage of the NAC. The LVRPA did all that could have been expected of it, and more, against a background of continuing uncertainty regarding top-level Government support and in keeping with its statutory duties under the 1966 Act. The Authority is disappointed by the Government's decision not to proceed with a project of such national importance. However, little more could have been done by the LVRPA project team to highlight and push for leadership and movement on project-critical issues whose resolution lay beyond the team's control.



  The Park Authority wishes to make two important points in relation to the Carter Report before commenting on its content and conclusions.

  Firstly, it was only at 12.30 pm on Thursday 4 October that the Authority was given a summary debrief on the Report, just one hour before the meeting with the Secretary of State. It was therefore in no position to comment on or challenge its conclusions or factual accuracy, but was simply faced with a decision based upon its content and recommendations.

  Secondly, the report positions the Authority as "sponsor" or "proposer" of the project. This is not only untrue, but it fails to recognise that Government was in fact the "proposer". Government created the need for a new London venue for WAC 2005 by removing athletics from Wembley. Government was involved in the selection of Picketts Lock and promised the IAAF "world class facilities". The Park Authority acted as agent and, indeed, project leader—but it did not initiate the project.


  The Review Team believed that "it would be bad value for money to spend £112 million capital plus significant ongoing revenue funding to provide a venue for a 10 day event". On what basis did it arrive at this conclusion? It is a subjective statement with no supporting evidence, comparisons or criteria being stated in the Report.

  Furthermore, the capital outlay did not just provide a venue for a 10-day event. An integral part of the NAC was a High Performance Centre to serve the London Region (not just North London as the report suggests) in developing elite athletes and forming part of the English Institute for Sport national network. In effect the NAC would create a lasting beneficial legacy for sport in general and athletics in particular.

  The Report says that the "planning application does not fully cover the foreseen commercial use of the site". This infers that there was to be commercial and/or enabling development outside the footprint of the NAC and that this could jeopardise the project as the site is in Green Belt. This is not the case. Post 2005 commercial development was only planned within the footprint of the Centre, in the undercroft of the stands, and did not represent a significant planning risk. In addition, a Planning Brief for the site had been drawn up and approved as Supplementary Planning Guidance to the Enfield UDP and the Lee Valley Park Plan.

  The Strategic Rail Authority is quoted as "believing that the modal split projected in the planning application is unlikely to be achieved". This "belief" is not supported by any evidence whereas the application had a thorough and detailed Transport Strategy developed by recognised experts, Oscar Faber which, what is more, did not demand a new train station.

  The Review Team claim to have tested the journey from the proposed athletes' accommodation at the University of Hertfordshire at Hatfield to Picketts Lock and arrived at a drive time of 40 minutes. The London 2005 Organising Committee carried out the same test and arrived at a drive time of 30 minutes, which in its professional judgment was acceptable.

  Under the subject of project management the Report states, "whilst the sponsor organisations and their staff have shown considerable enthusiasm, there remains the question of professional management of a complex construction project that carries a high degree of risk". It was not just the Authority's enthusiasm that made it the acknowledged leader of the project and that enabled so much progress to be made against all the odds in so little time. It was the sheer professionalism and skills of the project team. Furthermore, a proposed management structure for the delivery of the project was presented to the Carter Team in August. This had not been developed further precisely because of the Carter inquiry.

  More to the point, the Report fails to recognise the responsibility of national agencies, including Government itself, and other strategic bodies for what was a national project of national importance. This is particularly pertinent in relation to the comment that "none of the partner organisations is prepared to assume the risk". The Authority and the other partners assumed that Government was a partner too, given that it was its project and that it should underwrite the risk it was so keen for others to take. Indeed, it would have been entirely non-sensical (and indeed irresponsible) to expect a regional statutory authority with an annual budget of £9.5 million to shoulder the burden of the risks associated with a national project of this importance—in particular when that authority had already offered land, capital and revenue commitments, and nearly two years of time and expertise of some of its most senior officers.

  The "legacy" stadium was to have a capacity of 20,000 not 30,000 as quoted in the Report.

  In arriving at its estimate of the capital cost for the NAC project of £112 million the Carter Team has added a "potential cost overrun" of £4.9 million and a "Review Team Contingency" of £10 million to the project team's £97.3 million figure. This represents an increase of 15.3 per cent, yet there is no accompanying justification for the addition of either of these amounts.

  The Report indicates a capital funding gap of £97.5 million, yet it had formally been established that a total of £67 million had been "earmarked" by Sport England for the NAC project of which only £1.7 million had thus far been drawn down.

  Whilst it was acknowledged that the Authority had committed £5 million to the capital cost it was not acknowledged that the Authority was making the land available free of charge as well. This was an important factor in the selection of Picketts Lock in the first place.

  In addressing the revenue deficit of the Centre post 2005 there was no reference to the Business Plan developed by Ernst & Young. This showed how the income stream would be built through Centre usage and on-site private sector developments to take over from the initial public sector funding as that expired or became unnecessary.

  The Report fails to attach any "value" to the legacy that the Centre would provide for athletics in particular and sport in general, from local and community level through to regional and national level, from grass root aspirants to world champions. It was not to be a one-off event stadium but an investment in the future of UK sport.


  February 2000—Picketts Lock selected by Sport England, UKA, DCMS consortium—Approximate cost provided in March 2000: £90-£120 million (range inclusive of new station but depending primarily on roofing configuration).

  May 2000—Drivers Jonas Technical Feasibility Study commissioned—budget cost plan in October 2000 Report: £90-£95 million (excluding new station and retractable stadium roof).

  November 2000—Design Team FaulknerBrowns selected in view of their reputation for designing cost effective sports buildings.

  February 2001—Cost Consultant DLE appointed. Initial cost plan conforms with Drivers Jonas' October 2000 estimate of £90-£95 million.

  February 2001—£62 million minimal "Bunker Scheme" concept developed and costed. Rejected as unacceptable to Client Group and Ministers.

  February 2001—Drivers Jonas Project Brief reviewed and rationalised. DLE Stadium cost estimate: £77 million to £85 million (excluding a new station and approximately £10 million services and off-site costs).

  March 2001—Press Launch of Stadium design by Secretary of State. Cost estimate £87 million (excluding a new station and approximately £10 million services and off-site costs).

  May 2001—Stage C design completed and planning application submitted. DLE cost estimate £86.5 million (excluding a new station) plus approximately £10 million services and off-site costs.


  Following appointment of Transportation Consultant Oscar Faber in October 2000, meetings were immediately sought with the rail industry to investigate the potential role of rail in transporting people to and from the proposed NAC development. As well as arranging early meetings with Railtrack and WAGN, Oscar Faber met with the SRA (sSRA as it was then) on 16 October 2000.

  It quickly became clear from the meetings with the rail industry that there were a number of complex rail issues relating to the potential level of service that could be provided on the Lee Valley line to serve either the existing Ponders End Station or a possible new station at Picketts Lock.

  Accordingly Oscar Faber prepared a Rail Issues Technical Paper to summarise the key issues. This paper was copied to the rail industry, months before the submission of the planning application in order to encourage feedback. Comments were received from Railtrack and WAGN only. The paper considered a wide range of possible service enhancement options that could assist in providing a higher modal split by rail. A number of these enhancement options were clearly dependent on third parties and could not be progressed by the applicant alone. The rail issues paper was included in the Planning Application as Technical Appendix 5.1.

  Oscar Faber's assessments indicated that due to the existing capacity problems on the Lee Valley Line during peak hours, it would not be possible to provide a rail-led modal split to the proposed development under the existing two-track arrangement. It was apparent that the issue of whether a new station was to be provided was significantly less important than whether additional tracks were to be provided as part of the West Anglia Route Modernisation (WARM) enhancement programme. Accordingly the transport strategy in the planning application did not propose a new station but relied on a balanced package of transport improvements to encourage a significant shift to non-car modes. Throughout the course of the study a decision was awaited from the SRA as to whether additional tracks were to be provided as part of the WARM enhancement programme. The SRA finally confirmed in their letter of 14 August, after submission of the planning application in May 2001, that the provision of additional tracks would not be achievable prior to the WCA in 2005.

  Oscar Faber continued to liaise with the rail industry throughout the development of the transport strategy and repeatedly requested, without success, that the rail industry provide details of the estimated level of service that could be provided under the existing two track and proposed four track arrangements in peak and off peak conditions.

  In the absence of the rail industry's own estimates, Oscar Faber had to make their own assumptions on the potential level of service by rail, based on their understanding of rail issues and their discussions with the rail industry. Due to the uncertainty regarding the WARM enhancement programme and whether or not a new station is to be proposed as part of a separate application, Oscar Faber considered the possible levels of service that could be provided under three alternative scenarios, namely, existing two track, two track with new station and four track with new station. The later two were included as potential future enhancements and did not form part of the planning application proposals as they were not deemed necessary in order to achieve a significant shift in the level of access achievable by public transport modes.

  The transport strategy, whilst not relying on either the WARM enhancements or provision of a new station at Picketts Lock, made provision for an improved pedestrian link to Ponders End Station located 1 kilometre (approximately a 20 minute walk) from Picketts Lock. The transport strategy also made provision for a pedestrian link to be designed in to the scheme to allow a direct route over Meridian Way in the event that the transport agencies were to provide a new station to serve Picketts Lock.

  During the lifetime of the project none of the transportation agencies or authorities stepped forward to lead on the delivery of the transport strategy or rail enhancements to it.

  On 29 August 2001, the Mayor of London resolved that he was not minded to direct Enfield Council to refuse planning permission subject to certain requirements and conditions, including "at the very least" the provision of an events-only railway station at Picketts Lock.

  At their Planning Committee meeting on 12 September 2001 the London Borough of Enfield resolved it was minded to grant planning permission subject to conditions and the applicant entering into a Section 106 Agreement. In response to the Mayor's comments, one condition required "that the use of the stadium for major events including the World Athletics Championships, shall not commence until a new events only station together with the approved pedestrian linkages have been constructed and are available for use. The Station shall be open for the duration of the Championships and all major legacy events".

  In conclusion, it is to be noted that at the outset of the transport study it was fully anticipated that rail would form a key element of the transport strategy and a variety of potential rail options were investigated. However, a combination of the existing capacity problems, lack of co-operation form the rail industry, a lack of commitment to the project by the transportation agencies and authorities, and the tight timescale that the consultants were required to work to in order to secure improvements by the WCA in 2005 led to a transport strategy that relied predominantly on alternative modes, and in particular, park-and-ride. The transport strategy that evolved and was submitted in support of the application recognised that the modal split by rail, under the existing two track arrangement, would be limited due to existing capacity constraints, hence the reliance on alternative options such as temporary shuttle buses to key interchanges, coaches and park and ride.


  1.  Underbudgeting: from the very start it was acknowledged by all the relevant parties (DCMS, Sport England, UK Athletics, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority) that the Lee Valley National Athletics Centre (LVNAC) was circa £100 million project, yet a lottery budget of £67 million was earmarked. Why? This meant that the project team spent a great deal of time and energy over 18 months seeking to bridge this significant capital funding gap. A national project commissioned by Government to host the third biggest international sporting event should have had sufficient funding allocated to it from the very beginning.

  2.  The failure to attract third party funding commitments: for the entirety of its short 18 months life the NAC project was bedevilled by lack of confidence, continual uncertainty and endless negative press speculation. This negative climate was fed by the never ending Wembley saga and the failure of Government to match supportive statements with a tangible commitment and effective leadership.

  As a consequence it proved impossible to obtain more than just interest from public and private sector organisations re: funding and investment for the NAC project.

  3.  Effective delivery structure for London 2005 WAC.

  The 2005 WAC was a project comprising of four major components: NAC, transport, accommodation and the event. All discrete projects yet all inextricably linked. What was needed, but never developed, was a cohesive and clear project management structure embracing the four projects. The Lee Valley Stadium Forum and the NAC Stakeholders Board provided forums for information exchange and problem identification but they were not constituted with a mandate/authority to deliver with accountabilities and responsibilities established.

  A highly complex and challenging project requiring the commitment of local, regional and national agencies must have in place an effectively led, well resourced and accountable project delivery body. The absence of such a body/organisation greatly undermined the ability of London 2005 WAC to establish an identity and effectively deliver over the past 18 months.

  4.  Funding National Sports Facilities

  Is there a policy for the funding of national sports facilities?

  Traditionally national sports facilities have been funded centrally: Bisham Abbey, Lilleshall, Crystal Palace, Holme Pierrepoint, both in terms of capital and revenue. These national centres are in fact owned and managed (via third party contractors) by Sport England.

  As with the existing national centres the LVNAC would have run at a significant revenue cost in the early years. However, in the case of the LVNAC local and regional partners were willing to fund the base case revenue cost of £950,000 per annum (pre private sector development). What the partners could not do is underwrite the revenue cost of this national facility over its lifetime (as required by Sport England).

  It is interesting to note that the long term viability of the publicly funded Commonwealth Games stadium is being safeguarded by removing the athletics track and handing the stadium over to a professional football club.

  In the case of the LVNAC the objective was to develop a legacy facility for the development of future champions along with a modern state of the art stadium for the WAC and future events.

  Football is a "rich" sport. Athletics does not generate or attract money on anything like the same scale and yet it is equally important to the nation in the international sporting arena. It costs to develop this sport and it is important to establish partnerships with the private sector seeking synergy and economy where possible. But the question is who pays for national facilities? At the very least the cost should be met jointly by local, regional and national agencies. As for the underwriting of revenue cost over the lifetime of a national facility should this be the responsibility of local/regional agencies?

  There are clearly anomalies and inconsistencies with existing policy, suggesting a review is perhaps required.


  With regards to the Picketts Lock site the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) will pick up where it left off 18 months ago before the NAC project came on the agenda.

  The LVRPA will press ahead with finding a development solution for Picketts Lock, a solution consistent with its regional remit.

  The offer of a £4 million grant (from the CMF) made by the Secretary of State, to part fund a legacy sports facility in the Park is of course welcome (attached copy of letter form Secretary of State published in the Evening Standard). Over the coming months the LVRPA will assess a number of options and work closely with DCMS, Sport England and sport governing bodies in working up proposals.

  There is still a possibility that the London Region high Performance Centre could be sited in the Lee Valley Regional Park, at Picketts Lock or another site. UK Athletics is about to go through a site selection exercise and the Park Authority will need to look very carefully at the cost/benefits of a stand alone High Performance Centre, including the long term revenue implications. It will also need to weigh up the risks associated with a lottery funded project, versus a more commercial approach to the redevelopment of the Picketts Lock Leisure Centre.

19 October 2001

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