Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witness (Questions 420-425)

MR JON ROUSE

WEDNESDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2001

Mr Cummings

  420. Can you give us an example where multi-use facilities incorporating retail and child care and other facilities have proved to be a success?
  (Mr Rouse) You could look at a succession of leisure centres and sports facilities, some of them developed by the private sector over the last five years where they have incorporated retail uses on the ground floor level. There is one in New Malden, for example, that I have seen recently. I prefer to use those small examples because they are more prevalent, where you do not have to have blank frontages and blank walls which represent the gymnasium or the sports hall. You can use the ground floor area for having active uses that other members of the public can come and use: a cafeteria, a creche, a health centre, a physiotherapist. We can be a lot richer in the types of uses we mix within these recreational environments.

Mrs Dunwoody

  421. Go upstairs and tear your muscles and come downstairs and have them fixed?
  (Mr Rouse) Exactly. And it is good economics.

Mr Cummings

  422. How do you think PPG17 could better address the design of new facilities? Where do you see its shortcomings?
  (Mr Rouse) The first one which I had started to articulate is the importance of stressing that these should be mixed use environments. If you give the example of Arsenal, the first time we saw the Arsenal stadium it was just a stadium plonked down with any other uses that might get in the way siphoned off into other parts of that borough. We said that was not good enough. Arsenal, to their credit, went away and they have now come back with a scheme which incorporates a significant amount of new housing, new retail facilities and the stadium and it is going to be a much livelier environment, it is going to be a new piece of London, and I think they should be commended on taking those steps.

Chairman

  423. Do you really think someone wants to live close to a football stadium?
  (Mr Rouse) If you talk to the people who have lost stadiums in recent years, the people round what used to be the Baseball Ground in Derby, the people around Goodison Park, they are mourning the loss of those stadiums to other parts of the city.

  424. I can understand pubs and small shops mourning them but I would have thought that most householders would be quite pleased not to have people being sick in their gardens and doing other nasty things to their property.
  (Mr Rouse) What is the alternative? The alternative is that you put the football ground right on the edge of the city, not part of the urban fabric. You have to drive to get to it. There are acres of car parking around it. That is not the type of urban area that we want to create. We want to create vibrant, mixed use areas where different things are going on at different times of day.

Mrs Ellman

  425. Are you aware that there is in fact a great deal of local opposition to the stadium at King's Dock in Liverpool, and that opposition is to do with the possible environmental impact of large crowds and movement of people in an area which has housing and the fact that it is close to the city centre?
  (Mr Rouse) We are very aware of those issues because we are enabling that project. We are working with the clients, including Liverpool City Council, to try and get the best quality environment we can. Once the decision had been taken that the stadium should move there, the key now is to ensure that that historic part of Liverpool remains a high quality environment which is about making it mixed use, which is about ensuring that the overall environmental impact is uprated by getting other uses around the stadium.

  Chairman: On that note, thank you very much for your evidence.


 
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