Casinos Join Fight Against Newham Over Olympic Stadium Row
By Community | May 18, 2011
The Olympic Stadium row looks set to drag on further following the revelation that two casino chains have now launched judicial reviews into the decision-making procedures of the local authority.
City and Eastern and Apollo are both questioning Newham Council’s right to grant a license to a third company, Aspers, to build a casino within the adjacent Westfield Stratford City shopping centre.
The council is now under attack on four fronts following separate judicial reviews launched by soccer clubs Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League and Leyton Orient of League One, who are both fighting the decision to allow West Ham United to move to Stratford in 2014 after the Olympics and Paralympics.
A City and Eastern spokesman said: “The Gambling Act of 2009 makes it very clear that as party of any casino bid, regeneration has to form a significant element.
“Our project and that of Apollo both had over £250 million ($405 million) of urban regeneration.
“This deal has been done behind closed doors in the dark.
“Why wasn’t the bidding process open?”
Tottenham are unhappy with the process which led to West Ham being chosen as the winner after Newham Council arranged a US$65m loan to finance the move. The club have since widened their appeal and asked the High Court to start a separate judicial review into the roles of several other parties involved.
Fergus Kinloch, Director of City and Eastern, said it was clear his organisation never had a chance of winning the bid – exactly the same argument being used by Tottenham – stating: “Newham Council has in our view needlessly turned away over £250 million ($405 million) of investment plus substantial financial benefits for local residents, and at a time when councils are having to make major spending cuts.
“The whole situation quite simply beggars belief and certainly doesn’t work in the best interests of Newham residents.”