Public may have to cough up to plug stadium funding gap

THE public look set to have to bridge a gap of up to �60million following the collapse of West Ham United and Newham Council’s bid to buy the Olympic Stadium.

The venue will remain in public ownership but it will miss out on �60 million of funding from the Hammers (�20 million) and Newham Council (�40million) to transform the venue before it can be leased out.

If similar changes are to be made then only the �35 million is guaranteed.

Under the new tender process, Robertson stressed the running track would have to be kept in the stadium and the issue would be “non-negotiable”, with bids having to be in by January.

Robertson said: “It is a little bit which way you cut it. There is �35million in the public sector funding package already for legacy conversion.

“Then you have got the �40 million that Newham were prepared to commit to the original project. They can now commit that to this model without a state aid issue because it goes public body to public body.

“Then you have to get the all-round figure up to �95 million and then you have a gap of �20 million, which was originally going to be filled by West Ham’s sale of their ground at Upton Park.

Most Read

“That will be replaced by an annual rental charge by whoever the end tenant is.”

Robertson and Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the stadium would not become a burden on the taxpayer.

The mayor said: “I think we have come up with a very good solution. We will keep it in public hands but we will effectively rent it to a football club, almost certainly West Ham, and that will cover the costs and I think it will be a very good deal for the taxpayer.”

Robertson added: “This is potentially a much more attractive deal - you are able to sign a straightforward lease and not depend on a loan from Newham.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter