Examination of Witnesses (Questions 80
THURSDAY 1 MARCH 2001
MOORCROFT OBE, MR
80. I think the good thing about the Dome is
that it was actually delivered on time. It is a rare thing for
a major multi-million pound project to be delivered on time and
within budget, but from what we know about big project management
in the United Kingdom we are not massively skilled at getting
them done on time and within budget. It seems to be a weakness
in our core culture. It is probably something to do with liberal
arts education at school, but there seems to be something wrong
with the way in which we look at project management. I have no
confidence individually or as a politician as to when Wembley
might be delivered, even Sir Rodney is not certain because there
are so many complexities. It is the same with Picketts Lock. You
have almost the same issues. As a backstop, if it is really important
to get the athletics (which I think it is) is there any room to
manoeuvre with Manchester given that they will have a stadium
ready, slightly late but ready, for the Commonwealth Games?
(Mr Moorcroft) I really do not think there is. It
was considered 28 months ago as an option but it is not a realistic
one for a number of reasons, not least the fact that the contract
with Manchester City has been done. I am sure Sport England would
answer that better than I. Manchester City, the football club,
expect to move in there post 2002 as their home. I do not think
that is an issue. The focus now must be on delivering the World
Athletics Championships in London, honouring that commitment,
making it work spectacularly well, but also providing a strong
legacy for the sport. You indicated that project management maybe
is not our greatest skill, I think actually working well togetherthis
is a reflection of British sportpossibly is not our greatest
quality either. Maybe the situation we are in now reflects fairly
poorly on British sport collectively. I think the challenge now
is if we all agree that it is a great idea to bring major events
to this country, and the World Athletics Championships is a major
event, and we have got it, that we have to make sure we provide
a stadium and we also provide value for money and that stadium
provides a legacy beyond.
81. Can you just answer yes or no. Will Picketts
Lock Stadium be open in good time for the World Athletics Championships
(Mr Moorcroft) The one word answer is yes. The extended
Chairman: I wanted a one word answer.
82. Sometimes governments can do magical things.
If Manchester City was to be relegated, given that they have only
signed a lease to rent it, they do not own it, they also might
be somewhat nervous. I just think there ought to be a backstop
here. I guess my question to you is have you signed a contract
for the World Championships to be in London or just to be in the
(Mr Moorcroft) It is to be in London. As a resident
of Coventry I would be delighted if Manchester City were relegated.
The contract is with London. The event should and will come to
London. Reference was made before to Australia and whether governments
should intervene or not. I actually do think this is a great opportunity
for us to show in Britain what Australia did, which was at government,
state level and regional level to make things happen.
83. One of the recommendations we had in our
report two years ago was that the Cabinet Office should get involved
with the Commonwealth Games, which Ian McCartney has done. Perhaps
there ought to be that same person in charge of all of this so
that the lessons of Manchester can be learned for Wembley and
for Picketts Lock. The problem with Ian McCartney is he has no
budget so he has to go cap in hand to all the other Secretaries
of State. We are back running around trying to get £50 million
from here, £30 million from here. Would it not be better
if there was a sporting infrastructure fund of two or three billion
pounds? Is this not a weakness, that you are running around trying
to get infrastructure bids from everybody else but there is not
one single Government minister that you can target?
(Mr Moorcroft) I think that would be a good idea.
Similarly, I think it is a sensible idea that there is either
a Cabinet Minister in charge of major events or possibly a different
Minister for each major event. I think there are a number of different
options. It certainly would make life easier for us. I think it
comes back to the debate about how much should there be Government
interference. If we assume that Lottery money is effectively public
money and that there are certain major events and projects, like
Wembley and the Lee Valley Centre projects, that are of such magnitude
that an appropriate relationship between Government and the statutory
bodies and governing bodies is absolutely appropriate, I think
that would be the right way forward. At the moment there are many
agencies involved all with a slightly different remit, some of
them with constraints, like Sport England because of the Act of
Parliament. It lacks that real leadership to make it happen. I
believe the Australian model has shown that if you have that leadership,
and it has to come from the very top, then these events can be
hugely successful. I think both the Secretary of State and the
Minister have done their level best to give that leadership with
the constraints that they have at the moment of being relatively
84. Let us just say that you get this hiccough,
as Wembley has had, of 19 months of irritation, perhaps from the
Government, perhaps not, but irritation nonetheless with complexities
of contracts and regulation and objections to planning and so
on, if it is not feasible to put the platform into Wembley is
it feasible to put it into Twickenham?
(Mr Moorcroft) I really do not think there is a plan
B. By far the best option and the most deliverable, and Sir Rodney
talked about certainty, is the Lee Valley project. Remember the
Lee Valley project is more than just a stadium, it is a centre
with an indoor facility, a permanent outdoor track, a throws field,
that has massive community benefit. That project has a greater
degree of certainty and that is the one that we should focus on.
Two-thirds of the funding is already in place notionally, so the
pot is two-thirds full. I think it really does just require the
willingness and the collective desire to make it work. I think
it is a huge challenge to us all to make it work and work well,
and a massive challenge to the sport to make sure there is a real
legacy beyond the World Athletics Championships.
85. We wish you well.
(Mr Moorcroft) Thank you.
Chairman: I love this Committee in every
way but each member has got a very strange interpretation of the
words "last" and "final".
86. I will try to bear that in mind. You just
said, Mr Moorcroft, that two-thirds of the money is in place,
that is two-thirds of the £95 million that it is expected
to cost for Picketts Lock, is that right?
(Mr Moorcroft) It is not an absolute commitment because
a large amount of that money comes through Sport England and the
Lottery and clearly there is a process that is involved there.
If we assume that the £20 million will be returned from Wembley,
there are indications that there is £40 million of Lottery
money available, £7 million already allocated in terms of
the UK high performance infrastructure and then there is £5
million that has been allocated by Lee Valley Regional Authority,
and that takes it to £72 million.
87. Where is the rest going to come from?
(Mr Moorcroft) That is the challenge.
88. It is quite a challenge.
(Mr Moorcroft) It is less of a challenge than maybe
other projects that we have discussed today, but it is still a
challenge. We are involved in discussions with the commercial
sector, obviously through the Secretary of State, sums of other
public funding and in terms of European funding. As each week
has gone by the gap has narrowed rather than been extended.
89. Remind me again what the comparison of cost
is between this project and the platform solution at Wembley?
(Mr Moorcroft) There are different interpretations
of that. £30 million was referred to today, I think it would
have been more than that because £30 million was about the
construction of the platform and Wembley was discussing issues
to do with compensation, compensation for loss of revenue whilst
the platform was constructed and then as the platform was being
dismantled. There is also the proportion of the £120 million
that had gone into the project initially because of the concept
of it being more than just a football stadium. If we assume that
is £20 million that is coming back out, plus the fact the
World Athletics Championships and, indeed, the Olympic Games would
require a significant warm-up facility, if that was going to go
adjacent to the stadium that requires compulsory purchase of land.
So the actual capital investment, should the World Athletics Championships
or the Olympics had gone to Wembley, would have been massive.
Maybe not £95 but not a million miles away from it. The advantage
would have been the kudos of Wembley. The world would have been
very happy that they had come to Wembley and been at the World
Athletics Championships or Olympic Games. The loss to this country
would have been that we would have had very little after that.
90. Looking at this from the perspective of
somebody in my constituency who would think we have had a solution
put forward from Wembley which was at a cost, taking into account
all the things you have just mentioned, of probably less than
£95 million and we now have an option that is for a separate
stadium of around £95 million capital investment, some concern
over where you are going to get the revenue for that in the longer
term and where transport access, public access, is significantly
more difficult for Picketts Lock than for Wembley Stadium, can
you explain then where the great advantage is and how this can
be sold to people?
(Mr Moorcroft) I will pass on to one of my colleagues
in terms of transport. I do not think there will be a huge difference
in terms of the capital investment. I think there will be a significant
difference in terms of the legacy. It is a word that we use often.
Wembley had certain advantages but as things stood it was very
unlikely that there would be significant athletics, certainly
in the main stadium, beyond the World Athletics Championships.
The opportunity we have got with the Lee Valley project is that
we have got a permanent legacy for athletics and a significant
legacy. It means significant events in the stadium but also significant
usage of all of the facilities. The 200 metre indoor track will
be a revelation in the South of England in terms of it does not
exist at the moment. That part of London is the most fertile area
in terms of athletics talent, both at the very young age but also
in terms of our senior internationals. It provides a wonderful
opportunity for us to develop the sport. Beyond the World Athletics
Championships there will be something permanent and very, very
effective. That has not happened at other major games. For other
reasons, the facility tends not to have great use. Could I invite
either Simon or Shaun to make reference to transport?
(Mr Evans) I was going to talk about the capital costs
point. I think it is important to bear in mind that those pre-feasibility
study costings were very provisional and not based on any architectural
design work. Even as we go into the conceptual design work we
are seeking significant areas of saving and we are starting to
move already. The quantity surveyor was only appointed two weeks
ago, so really there is a great deal of work to be done in terms
of honing what those costs are in terms of the stadium design
element itself. I think in relation to transport it is important
to note that those costings did not include any off-site transportation
or infrastructure improvements, and as we go through the transportation
impact assessment study we are in parallel to that seeking and
negotiating with other possible sources of funding for the transport
infrastructure, but it is fair to say that that would be an additional
consideration. Again, it is far too early to judge what those
capital cost implications might be at this stage.
91. That is a rather worrying comment you have
just made. You are not sure what the capital costs are and you
cannot judge what those costs are at this stage. Clearly the decision
for Picketts Lock must have been made upon consideration of what
the capital costs are for this and the legacy in comparison to
what the alternative is.
(Mr Evans) Our timescale for that is that those figures
will become much clearer than the provisional figures we have
been working on so far by May this year. It is not that far off
but the timing is not good from the point of view of the question
(Mr Moorcroft) The indications are (because the current
design team obviously have quantity surveyors working on it) that
the costs are likely to be less than the original worst-case scenario.
92. And how are you going to continue to fund
this? It is great to have a legacy but a stadium that cannot be
run because of the cost issues in the future is no good to anybody.
It may be fine for one championship or perhaps a bid, but apart
from those bids if we have not got the money to fund it on a long-term
basis it is not a very good use of not just public funds but indeed
of anybody's funds.
(Mr Moorcroft) It is true to say that
the stadia for athletics do not run at a profit. There is no way,
unlike a football stadium, that an athletics stadium can be filled
regularly enough for it to be commercially viable, so there is
a deficit, but that deficit is the cost of providing that facility
and that has to be met from a number of different sources. The
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Borough of Enfield, have indicated
that they will be making contributions to the revenue. One crucial
thing in our discussions at the moment is the potential relationship
with the London Marathon Trust. They have indicated a desire to
be involved possibly in the project vehicle that manages the centre
and to be investing into the project because of the benefits to
the community that it provides, and that discussion is crucial
to the project. It is again quite uniquely London because of the
great success that the London Marathon is, and one of their remits
is to put money back into and invest in grass roots athletics.
Their desire to be involved in this project is because of what
that project can deliver beyond the World Athletics Championships.
It is also true to say that we will be involved with the London
Marathon because of the off-site off-track events that take place
at the World Athletics Championships. One of the unique things
about this relationship is having a potential partner like the
London Marathon. What we have identified through the work of Ernst
& Young is the likely scenario in terms of what that cost
will be and therefore how valuable will be the revenue contribution
that others make so we can deliver what we want.
93. Who will underwrite the 2005 Games and bear
any financial losses, if there are anyI am sure there might
beif you are not to use further Lottery grant?
(Mr Moorcroft) It is far more appropriate that either
the Secretary of State or the Minister answers this question because
the assurances we have are from them and through the DCMS. Sport
England have indicatedand it is an indicationthat
there is a budget of up to £15 million for running the event
which is a very conservative budget. It is a challenge to the
event to run within that budget. It is normal that the local authority
is the third partner which therefore underwrites it and Birmingham
are the underwriters for 2003. What the Secretary of State has
assured us is that there will be an under-writing of that contract
and he will take the lead in terms of ensuring that that is in
place sooner rather than later.
94. In other words, the Government will find
the money if there is a loss?
(Mr Moorcroft) The Government have accepted the responsibility
to find that third party. The challenge is to ensure it does not
run at a loss but you are very right there does need to be that
95. You ought to be a Minister with the language
you have just used!
(Mr Moorcroft) It actually comes back to the debate
of do we want events of this magnitude in this country and if
we do then there is a cost. We have got to try and produce great
value for that cost. I believe that there has to be a relationship
between the events and the Government, and I think it reflects
the new reality of sport and the public's belief that the Government
and the various statutory bodies are the guardians of Lottery
money, and therefore I think the Government should and does want
to be pivotal in this process.
96. There could be many calls like that on the
cultural side. We cannot just think of this one area of sport,
although I am very interested in that. Crystal Palace had a feasibility
plan already in place. Your feasibility plan, from what I hear,
is still not in place. Am I right about that?
(Mr Moorcroft) The feasibility process continues until
planning permission is given and the funding is in place. That
process is on-going. There are a number of feasibility studies
already done and that will continue right through until work starts
on site. It is more appropriate that Sport England answers questions
on the future of Crystal Palace but Crystal Palace was one of
the sites that was considered when a number of agencies considered
appropriate sites for the World Athletics Championships and Lee
Valley was chosen.
97. Will that still be a place where major events
are held or will they all transfer once we get this super stadium?
(Mr Moorcroft) From the athletics point of view the
major London events would transfer to the Lee Valley Stadium.
Again the future of Crystal Palace is much more to do with Sport
England. Our preference is Crystal Palace which has a significant
presence with athletics, both outdoor and indoor, because it is
a significant south-of-the-Thames site and that is what we would
prefer to see continued. In terms of major events the major events
would be at the Lee Valley Stadium.
98. In answer to the Chairman when he asked
whether it was yes or no whether Picketts Lock would be ready
or not, you said yes. I feel because the feasibility studies may
go on and on and on that maybe the answer could be a probable
and you nearly came in with that after the Chairman asked, "Is
that yes or no", you said, "Yes, but . . ." and
the Chairman would not allow anything else. I think I would like
to hear what the buts were.
(Mr Moorcroft) The "but" is
"if we want it to happen".
99. Who is "we"?
(Mr Moorcroft) Collectively, all the various agencies
that are involved in this project. I think there is a real degree
of certainty that it can and will be built and will be ready.
Everything we have tried to achieve is currently on schedule.
I will bring Shaun in in terms of that. Clearly if there was not
a willingness to make it happen then enough obstacles could be
put in place to make sure it does not, and I think it is a test
of British sport, not on the basis of building it for the sake
of it, but building it because it is the right thing to do.