Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Wembley National Stadium Limited and The World Stadium Team
1. Your evidence on 16 October suggested
that, while still "technically feasible", the 39 month
build time for a new Wembley Stadium made a commitment for it
to act as the venue for the 2005 IAAF World Athletics Championships
too great a risk. Is there any potential to reduce the 39 month
period by modifying the construction programme to deliver the
stadium in athletics mode (with completion for football usage
coming after the 2005 WCA)? Has this option ever been assessed?
When Sir Rodney Walker took over as Chairman
there was an exploration of options for the new Wembley Stadium
being built in athletics mode and subsequently converted into
football mode. This centered on construction along the Manchester
model of a dig-down solution to conversion. This work was carried
out predominantly to explore cost saving rather than time saving.
It is unlikely that there would be substantial time saving merely
by delaying fit out of the lower tier. Savings that would accrue
should be compared to a time needed to construct and convert ie
construction time would still be around 39 months. Added to this
must be the 100 day typical hand over time for a major event.
More importantly is the assumption of risk for
the defined opening event. As WNSL outlined in its evidence the
last committee, it would be difficult to imagine the banking sector
or a contractor assuming this risk with out a substantial premium.
2. Mr Rod Sheard pointed out that a
stadium must be built with certain features in order to be able
to receive an athletics platform. Does the revised design of a
Wembley Stadium, mentioned by Sir Rodney Walker on 23 October,
still include these "receiving" elements?
The "stripped-down" design referred
to by Sir Rodney carries over the bowl design of the current stadium
and therefore continues to have the capacity to host a platform.
3. Can the construction costs of the
potential to "receive" a platform be isolated from the
overall cost of building the Wembley Stadium? If so, please supply
an estimate (in confidence if required). Are there non-cost factors
to be taken into consideration?
It is difficult to isolate in any detail this
cost from the current design. The key effect of designing the
stadium to host a platform is alter the geometry of the bowl compared
to that of a football only stadium. WNSL have estimated the additional
cost of the platform capacity to be approximately £10 million-£15
million. It is likely that a redesign to remove the capacity to
host a platform would require a complete redesign of the stadium
(the whole design of the stadium being predicated by the shape
of the bowl) and would incur cost in design fees, a revised planning
application and time delays that would be in excess of that sum.
4. Apart from staging an athletics event,
are there any other uses for which a platform might be employed
at a Wembley Stadium?
The platform would have no use in football,
rugby league or music concerts. As these are the key elements
of the WNSL business plan, there is no financial advantage to
WSNL in having the capacity to receive a platform. The only conceivable
use for the platform in addition to athletics events would be
to give the stadium the surface capacity necessary to host the
opening and closing events of the Olympic games.
5. Sir Rodney Walker stated that "because
athletics had been removed from [Wembley] stadium's intended usage,
the FA and WNSL have always maintained and recognised the fact
that the £20 million would have to be repaid..." Can
you clarify whether the commitment by the FA and WNSL to repay,
£20 million to Sport England is independent of whether a
Wembley Stadium is built with the potential to receive a platform?
WNSL understands that the agreement between
the FA and the former Secretary of State was based on the release
of compensatory commercial rights rather than the specific design
of the stadium. A payment of £20 million would free the Association
from the obligation to produce a stadium capable of hosting athletics
or Olympic events (other than football and, potentially, rugby),
ie it would give the Association the freedom to sponsor a design
capable of hosting a platform (the "stripped-down" WNSL
design) or of hosting only football and rugby league (the proposed
Birmingham and Coventry designs). This procedure could, of course,
create the anomaly of a design capable of hosting athletics with
minor modification but with the FA and stadium operators having
no obligation to host any such event.
6. Sir Rodney Walker was reported in
the press recently as sponsoring an alternative plan for a Wembley
stadium which preserves the twin towers and incorporates a non-platform
solution to the athletics/football conundrum. If true, was this
being done with his WNSL hat on?
In his role as Chairman of WNSL Sir Rodney was
approached by the Genesis Consortium with a proposed replacement
design for the Wembley site. Sir Rodney felt that, given the limited
amount of time available to the Football Association and the Carter
Review team to reach a final conclusion on the future of the National
Stadium development, he was obliged to forward the proposals.
He would have quite rightly been open to criticism if he had not
forwarded the design. These actions should not be taken in anyway
as WNSL sponsoring an alternative design to any produced by the
World Stadium Team.
31 October 2001