Memorandum submitted by Mr John Kingston
I write to you, not as the MP for the constituency
of Lichfield, but, as I understand, a member of the Commons Select
Committee for Culture Media and Sport who are investigating the
viability of the National Athletics Stadium and Centre at Picketts
Lock, North London.
May I briefly introduce myself as someone who
has been involved in athletics for nearly 50 of his 57 years with
a passion and obsession that is sometimes misunderstood by others.
I believe that I may be able to make certain
constructive observations and convey to you certain information
which could assist you reach the best judgement possible about
the viability and potential of "Picketts Lock".
My personal interest is further enhanced because
I live in the London Borough of Enfield although at the opposite
end to the proposed development.
I could, by mutual convenience, be available
to show you and any of your fellow committee members the site
and local environment.
As a businessman, I have carefully considered
the proposition of the centre and I do not consider the development
I understand that effectively, UK Athletics
are seeking a 100 per cent capital investment and are not themselves
making any capital contribution, though an arrangement has been
set in place with the trustees of the "London Marathon"
to cover the day to day running costs.
For reasons I can submit, I consider that the
main stadium would be grossly underused though the proposed secondary
track and associated facilities could and would be adequately
The main stadium would lie "fallow"
during the winter period and for much of the summer, would be
However, if UK Athletics could work in partnership,
not only with the London Borough of Enfield but other boroughs
and other sporting organisations it might be possible for the
main stadium to be commercially viable.
No doubt you will address yourself to the current
infrastructure of "Picketts Lock" and I would strongly
recommend that due consideration and regard be given to the demolition
of the existing buildings and the possibility of asbestos pollution.
If UK Athletics were prepared to commit a substantial
proportion of the development and running costs then it could
be argued that the proposition was economically and commercially
However I consider that the best contribution
that I can make to Athletics is to suggest and recommend the following
two persons known to me who are actively involved in athletics
and whose greater experience and knowledge might be of assistance
They are Mr Peter J Matthews. Peter is internationally
known, not only as a highly respected statistician, journalist
and announcer but also as the editor of International Athletics
statistical handbook which is best compared to Cricket's "Wisden".
I would further recommend and suggest Mr Keith
H Davies. Mr Davies is a retired school teacher but more important
of all he is the honorary chief technical officer for, and on
behalf of, UK Athletics and whilst he is more closely associated
with UKA he could, I believe, give you in depth information both
about the national and international scene in respect of stadia
and equipment. Specifically his honorary responsibility as the
chief technical officer is to represent UKA both nationally and
internationally in connection with the current laws and rules
and both nationally and internationally to implement them in the
constructions of new tracks and in respect of the organisation
of national and international meetings both here and abroad to
supervise stadium and equipment in compliance with the national
and international rules.
I hope that my correspondence will assist you
and I await in early course your acknowledgement and response.
14 September 2001