2012 Architect Writes to Urge Mayor Against West Ham Bid

February 16, 2011

Steve Lawrence, the architect who wrote the original masterplan for the London Olympics and Paralympics, has written to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, stating that he should not approve West Ham’s bid for sole use of the Stratford venue after the 2012 Games.

The architect has constantly stood by his view that West Ham should ground-share with Tottenham Hotspur at a revamped Olympic stadium – with the revenue being used to build an adjacent athletics venue to preserve the legacy.

Lawrence was commissioned by Stratford Development Partnership over 10 years ago, to carry out an alternative feasibility study for the Olympics. He proposed that any venue in Stratford should, after the Games, be shared by Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United as anchor tenants with the idea being rejected by local land-owners, who were fearful of rowdy fans.

Johnson, along with two UK government officials, are believed to be ready to ratify the decision to award West Ham the rights to the Olympic Stadium after the Premier League strugglers secured preferred bidder status from the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) last week.

However, Lawrence says that the solution is doomed and has urged Boris Johnson not to let it happen for fear of wasting public money, and instead to support the ground-share scheme he initially proposed.

Lawrence wrote to the Mayor, as well as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, stating: “It is appalling that the original proposal for a shared use of the Olympic Stadium by Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham with the revenue stream being used
to fund a Centre for UK Athletics has not been considered appropriately.

“I wrote to your predecessor, Ken Livingstone, several times from 2000 on about this, your office has therefore been aware of the proposal for ten years.

“I cannot understand why this proposal has not been considered, it is far and away the most cost effective and in not considering it properly, your office is complicit in wasting vast sums of taxpayers and ratepayers money.

“I hope you will now set aside the OPLC recommendation which is highly flawed and instigate a more accountable analysis of proposals including the possibility of a shared use of the stadium.”

Related Discussion: West Ham Olympic Stadium Financing by Stephen Pearson