Mayor's Report Update & Questions (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
May 22, 2002
Question By: 
Toby Harris
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

First of all, clearly I am the constituency member covering Wembley and I should declare a formal interest as a former member of the board of Wembley National Stadium.

What is clearly the case has been that a whole number of decisions have been taken about the Wembley project without proper reference to the public interest. That was the role on which I was one of those who was supposed to be trying to defend the public interest on the Wembley board. It got increasingly side-tracked by the Football Association, but more particularly by a sequence of very bizarre decisions which emanated from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which frankly made it more difficult rather than easier to progress the project.

But the question I was going to ask the Mayor is that most of the comments that have excited the select committee relate to a report prepared by a company called Tropus. I wanted to check whether the Mayor was aware that Tropus was a company which had previously bid for work and had indeed done some work on the project and then not been selected to do further work? Does the Mayor feel that perhaps there is an element of sour grapes in this? And does he also agree that the Birmingham lobby that has jumped on this bandwagon have yet to address the fact that most people who would be likely to visit the national stadium would like it to be at Wembley and have yet to address the facts that the alternative that they offered is nothing more than an ugly scar in an area which is already scarred with the likes of the wonders of the National Exhibition Centre and that frankly there is very little to recommend that area outside Birmingham?

Answer

Answer for Mayor's Report Update & Questions (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Mayor's Report Update & Questions (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I think Tropus should have made clearer their previous involvement and failure to secure the contract and put their report in context. I have to say whilst Toby considers the alternative of Birmingham being an ugly scar, I suspect the entire Green Party will be found occupying this valuable bit of English wilderness should there be any suggestion anyone's going to build on it. It seemed to me that this was the thing that everybody overlooked, i.e. to take what might be an ugly scar - but undoubtedly it's listed as metropolitan open land or green belt - would provoke years of campaigning, injunctions, Court appeals, High Court, Law Lords, right up to the end.

It would be years and years, as well as the fact the government would have to actually put in new rail and road links and not just the little spurs we're talking about off the north circular and the improvement of the three local stations, but construction of whole new lines to get people to it.