Examination of Witnesses (Questions 100
THURSDAY 1 MARCH 2001
MOORCROFT OBE, MR
100. One of your feasibility studies has been
produced which shows that you do not need a retractable roof which
was in the original plan. That is now out, is it not?
(Mr Dawson) If we could talk about the feasibility
phase in more general terms, I think it is important to take a
step back. This project began in May last year post the award
of the World Championships to London in Paris in April last year.
The early part of the exercise is detailed feasibility work in
terms of the business planning side of things, the revenue costs,
capital costs, looking at the programme, can we deliver this stadium,
this centre, within the time period for 2005. All that early work
had to take place between May and October last year. The conclusion
was at that point that the site was available, it is single ownership
land, it can provide the national athletics centre, the programme
is in place, we can deliver for August 2005, and it can be in
place comfortably before then for trial events to take place before
the main event, and adopting a low-risk planning strategy to ensure
that we can negotiate the planning process with minimal risk,
so all of these issues had to be looked at in the early days.
The period we are in now, between January and May, is very much
getting into leading up to the planning application in May. We
are due to submit the planning application to the London Borough
of Enfield in May and we will be going out to public consultation
in March/April. The work we are carrying out at the moment is
very much getting into the design of the stadium, the environmental
impact that will have, the transport studies are under way, and
we are seeking to bridge that capital funding gap, as has been
outlined already. We are very much addressing those detailed matters
now but the objective is to submit the planning application in
May and that will ensure that we are on track to deliver for 2005.
101. I sincerely hope that you are right. Can
I ask about the 2003 one. That is in place, is it not, we are
okay with that?
(Mr Colton) Yes, it is at the National Indoor Arena
in Birmingham. It already exists.
102. So there are no problems at all there?
(Mr Colton) I hope not.
Chairman: We have had a "yes"
and we have had a "no problem", that is pretty good
103. Can I begin by saying that the Secretary
of State is not in a position to give you an assurance that Lottery
money will be spent, it is not his job to do that. He sat in your
chair three weeks ago waxing lyrical about the arm's length principle
and then sought to justify how he is going to bend the arm's length
principle in respect of Picketts Lock. While his political future
may well depend on Picketts Lock, a future Secretary of State
might not see things in quite the same way. You have used words
like "notionally, assumed income, provisional" and the
truth is that even the £60 million from Sport England a £40
million grant and £20 million from Wembley are far from guarantees.
The £20 million is slipping already, it is already a year
behind on the Secretary of State's own payment schedule. What
are you doing to speed up that £20 million repayment? How
advanced are your discussions with Sport England on the remaining
(Mr Moorcroft) Sir Rodney made a statement that was
fairly clear, I believe, in terms of whether that £20 million
was going to be repaid or not. I thought that was very clear and
was a very useful statement.
104. But it is late already which is bad news
(Mr Moorcroft) It is not required yet, which is not
bad news for us. Our discussions with Sport England continue because
Sport England are part of the process of determining whether this
is a viable, sustainable project. Again, Sport England have the
task of being involved in that process almost on a daily basis
but, again, being sufficiently at arm's length so that they can
judge it according to their remit, and that is very appropriate.
Like any project of this magnitude there has to be a level of
doubt because it has to be justified on that basis. In terms of
the arm's length issue, again that is an issue for the Government.
The Government made it very clear that they have a policy to attract
major events to this country and major events can only be attracted
to this country with Government support. That may or may not be
in terms of how they can assist in terms of the Lottery process,
it may or may not be to do with unlocking other forms of funding,
but I do not think it is inappropriate at all that the Government
play a lead role in terms of trying to attract events of this
magnitude. I think the difficult thing is clarity. We have never
been clear about those issues that the Government should be more
directly involved with and those that should be left totally to
the statutory bodies that act on our behalf. What we have now
is an opportunity to say that certain events and certain projects,
Wembley being one of them, the World Athletics Championships and
Lee Valley, are projects that should be very much within the remit
of the Secretary of State to have a much more hands-on involvement
105. Has the event organisation agreement now
been signed for Birmingham?
(Mr Colton) No, and I think David referred to that
earlier. We have responded to the agreement to the IAAF with a
series of questions and we are still waiting for a response from
them on that. As we have already said, the ISL situation must
be having some effect on this but we anticipate perhaps some discussion
taking place next week in Lisbon when we will be attending the
World Indoor Championships there.
106. And who will be signing the London agreement
(Mr Moorcroft) We have not heard it directly but apparently
the GLA have said although they are very keen on the project and
wish to be involved, because they are a strategic body without
the funds, they are not in a position, unlike Birmingham who are
very affluent, to be able to sign the agreement as yet. It clearly
is part of the debate that the Secretary of State will lead in
terms of what comforts are needed or which the appropriate body
is to provide that signature.
107. Mr Livingstone is pretty unequivocal in
the papers this morning, he says that he has taken legal advice
and that he will not sign it.
(Mr Moorcroft) That was always our understanding,
that as a strategic body they would find that difficult.
108. Who will you look to to come in as a partner?
(Mr Moorcroft) It has already been stated that the
Secretary of State has accepted that he will take a lead role
109. You are saying that you have had a guarantee
from the Secretary of State that he will act as an underwriter
for the missing money?
(Mr Moorcroft) No, what he said was he recognises
his responsibility to help resolve that issue and we are comforted
110. You are?
(Mr Moorcroft) Absolutely. We are also comforted by
Chairman: That will be an interesting
line of questioning for you when Mr Smith comes here and I will
make sure that you have the opportunity, Mr Faber
111. Thank you, Chairman. Can I ask a little
bit about the design of the stadium. As I understand it, it is
to seat 43,000, is that correct, for 2005?
(Mr Moorcroft) Yes.
112. How much of that will be temporary seating?
(Mr Moorcroft) The likely option at the moment is
that 13,000 will be temporary seating.
113. Will that be covered?
(Mr Moorcroft) That is likely not to be covered, which
is not unusual. Obviously the weather is a slightly different
factor but in Sydney a considerable amount of the spectator provision
was uncovered. The plan at the moment is that 13,000 will be temporary
and exposed and then after the World Athletics Championships the
roofing will be completed so that it is a totally enclosed stadium.
114. Would that stadium then have the capacity
to be increased to 80,000 for an East London Olympic bid?
(Mr Moorcroft) No.
115. So if there was to be an East London Olympic
bid, what role would Picketts Lock play?
(Mr Moorcroft) If it was an East London solution,
within the corridor with the various stadia.
116. What would take place there?
(Mr Moorcroft) There are a number of different sports
that could take place within a stadium of 20,000 or 30,000.
(Mr Moorcroft) Field sports.
118. They are not usually held in the main Olympic
(Mr Moorcroft) Equestrian could take place there.
119. Football as well? As I understand it Wembley
has been asked to keep Wembley open for football.
(Mr Moorcroft) There are a number of games that take
place in an Olympic football tournament. It would be very appropriate
for Wembley to be for the major games.