London Assembly investigations into the Olympic Stadium deal
The London Assembly has had severe reservations about plans for the future of the Olympic Stadium since 2006. We began investigating it before early discussions took place around the desired legacy of the Olympic Stadium and the surrounding park.
We knew that to ensure the long term sustainability of the Stadium, the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) had to get the legacy right. The Assembly had serious concerns prior to the Games, as to how the stadium’s financial viability could be secured.
A number of our committees discovered that the unmoving call to retain a dedicated athletics track hampered the legacy and seemed incompatible with creating a venue that was financially sustainable.
Once the stadium agreement with West Ham was confirmed, we questioned the deal and continually pressed for greater transparency surrounding it. We consistently called for the full terms of the contract to be released into the public domain.
For a full list of Mayor’s Questions about the issue, along with the answers from the Mayor, click here and search “Olympic Stadium”.
Assembly Members have asked over 150 questions of the Mayor about the Olympic Stadium, going back to 2005. All those questions and answers are listed here.
Timeline of scrutiny
2 March 2016 – Plenary meeting with the LLDC – Transcript
2 February 2016 – Meeting on Olympic Park venue performance - Regeneration Committee - Transcript
GLA Oversight Committee report – Transparency of the GLA Group and Family
“The LLDC is still refusing to publish the contract with West Ham United Football Club to lease the Olympic Stadium. The Assembly has repeatedly called for the LLDC to publish this in full; there remain concerns over whether the deal represents a good deal for taxpayers, but it is currently impossible to make a judgment about it. The agreement has been requested under the FOI Act, and the Information Commissioner has rejected the LLDC’s arguments to keep the agreement secret.”
7 January 2016 – Budget & Performance Committee - Olympic Stadium: the costs keep rising
“Thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money have been spent keeping details of the West Ham deal out of the public domain, the London Assembly uncovered today.”
2 December 2015
London Assembly Motion – agreed unanimously - Assembly blows the full-time whistle on West Ham deal ‘secrecy’
“This Assembly notes the considerable public interest in the Concession Agreement between the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and West Ham United FC for their rental of the Olympic Stadium. This Assembly believes the LLDC was wrong to redact the released document, and was wrong to appeal the Information Commissioner’s ruling that the document should be published in full. This Assembly therefore calls on the LLDC to drop its appeal against the Information Commissioner’s ruling and to publish the Concession Agreement in full.”
Budget & Performance Committee – Pre-Budget report 2016/17
“There are other worrying signs regarding the LLDC’s performance, particularly around the rising costs of the Olympic Stadium (now £701 million), and the ArcelorMittal Orbit.”
“We echo the auditor’s recommendation that the GLA “needs to continue to keep a close eye on as a financial guarantor to LLDC’s financial and operating performance.”
15 July 2015 – Meeting on the Olympic stadium costs - Budget Monitoring Sub Committee - Transcript
11 March 2015 – Plenary – LLDC - Transcript
Regeneration Committee report – The Regeneration Game: Stadium-Led Regeneration
Recommendation: “The Mayor should make provisions for reviewing leasehold agreements – or claw back – for football clubs occupying public-funded stadia, should clubs be sold. Whilst recognising commercial confidentiality, this should not stop interested parties and members of the public from being able to assess the public benefit where either planning decisions or public subsidy contribute to the delivery of a commercial venture. Specifically, in the case of the Olympic Stadium, the Mayor should publish information about the content of the agreement for clawback with WHUFC. The Mayor should write to the Committee by the end of May 2015 outlining (without prejudicing commercial confidentiality) what the clawback agreement between the E20 Stadium Partnership and WHUFC contains.”
Budget & Performance Committee – Pre-Budget report 2015/16
“The LLDC has increased the value of the stadium works contract with Balfour Beatty by £36 million to £190 million. The GLA told us recently that these additional costs would not result in any further call on taxpayer funding: We believe that we will be able to take on board the additional costs of the stadium and be able to cover those costs by the increased land values which will be obtained and are already being obtained at the LLDC.”
26 November 2014 – Meeting with the LLDC Chief Executive, David Goldstone - Regeneration Committee - Transcript
11 Sept 2014 - LLDC said they would listen to an offer from Tottenham Hotspur F.C - Budget & Performance Committee - Transcript
19 June 2014 – Meeting on the legacy of stadium regeneration and wider community benefits - Regeneration Committee - Transcript
15 January 2014 – Plenary meeting with LLDC - Transcript
Budget & Performance Committee – Pre-Budget report 14/15
“We are still concerned that the financial pressure the LLDC faces will affect its ability to bring about the wider regeneration objectives it was tasked to achieve, and the Assembly will continue to monitor performance over the coming years.”
9 April 2013 – Budget & Performance Committee wrote to the LLDC about stadium conversion costs - Letter - Response
“On 9 January you agreed to provide the Committee with information regarding the costs incurred to secure a main tenant for the stadium. Now that a deal has been reached, would you please provide details of those costs, if possible breaking it down into the various stages of negotiations over the years.”
22 Oct 2013 – Meeting on the financial sustainability of the LLDC - Budget & Performance Committee - Transcript
Budget & Performance Committee – Pre-Budget report 13/14
Recommendation – “The Consultation Budget should respond to our concerns about the risk that Londoners will face further financial burdens from the Olympic Park. In particular it should set out the financial implications for the GLA Group relating to the risk of visitor numbers not being met, the section 106 agreement and the costs associated with the delay in converting and reopening the Olympic Stadium.”
7 Nov 2012 – Budget & Performance Committee meeting - LLDC revealed the stadium wouldn’t reopen until 2016
“The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) is facing a major cash shortfall. From 2015-16 it plans to spend more than it expects to receive through funding and income. In the short term the LLDC intends to use its reserves to partially address this problem, but this is an unsustainable position; in 2015-16 the LLDC is facing a £9.5 million funding gap even after using £4.5 million of reserves.”
Budget & Performance Committee – Pre-Budget report 12/13
“There could also be costs to the GLA group continuing after the Games. It was announced on 11 October that the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) is changing its post-Games approach to the Olympic stadium. Rather than looking to sell it, the OPLC now intends that the stadium will be retained under public ownership and that new bids will be invited from potential users under a leasehold arrangement.
This could result in new financial risks for the GLA group. The OPLC, which is currently jointly owned by the Mayor and the Government, is set to become a Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) and a full member of the GLA group on 1 April 2012. Consequently, it appears that any net operational costs associated with the stadium could fall to the Mayor.”
Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee - Legacy Limited?
“It is worrying that the concerns raised by the Committee about the legacy of the Olympic Stadium in July 2009 have not yet been resolved. The continuing uncertainty about the future of the main stadium undermines the potential to plan for legacy ahead of the 2012 Games.”
Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee - Towards a Lasting Legacy
“The Assembly has consistently expressed concern about the long-term future of the main stadium. For without a credible anchor tenant to 24 bring regular foot-fall into the park there will be serious doubts as to the future financial viability of the venue and hence attractiveness of the park site to business investment. Lord Coe has consistently supported keeping the stadium with an athletic track. However, it is far from clear that such a sporting venue will be able to host events that regularly attract the hundreds and thousands of spectators required in order for it to be financially viable. Without decisive action the stadium is in danger of becoming a white elephant.”
Research commissioned by the London Assembly from the London East Research Institute of the University of East London – A Lasting Legacy for London?: Assessing the legacy of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games
Budget Committee - Financing the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
Recommendations: “That the GLA, on behalf of the ODA, LDA, TfL and itself, provides, from quarter 2 of 2006/07 onwards, quarterly reports to the Budget Committee setting out all expenditure on the Games against budget and key deliverables, so that the public can understand what is being spent and what is being delivered.”
“That the ODA, in consultation, as appropriate, with its funders and other organisations working on the Games, seeks to ensure that its lifetime budget for the Games provides full details of: a) anticipated on-going costs of infrastructure after 2012 and how these will be funded; and b) expenditure essential for the actual Games and spending necessary for wider regeneration.”